Malaysia Palm Oil News: Malaysia and India aim to mend deteriorated ties that have affected palm trade | Business News in India

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia and India will work to improve relations which deteriorated under former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and severely affected the palm oil trade between the countries, said Sunday officials from both countries.
India is the world’s largest importer of palm oil, but its purchases from Malaysia, the second-largest palm exporter behind Indonesia, have fallen dramatically in recent months after Mahathir’s attacks on Indian policy.
Malaysia was sworn in to a new prime minister on Sunday after the outspoken Mahathir, 94, resigned last week after a battle for power in his coalition government.

Wee Ka Siong, a lawmaker expected to secure a ministerial post, said restoring ties was a priority as Malaysian palm oil producers suffer from India’s effective purchase ban.
“Can we just renegotiate? It’s for my country as well as for my people,” Wee said. “Since we are a new government, let the Prime Minister, the new government take care of it. We cherish the friendship with India.”
An Indian official familiar with the matter said New Delhi is also keen to improve bilateral relations, including the palm oil trade, on condition that Malaysia remains out of India’s internal affairs.

India could also invite Malaysia’s new prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, for a visit this year, the official said on condition of anonymity.
India put refined palm oil and palmolein on its restricted items list on January 8, a move according to sources in response to Mahathir’s criticism of his actions in Kashmir and a new citizenship law.
Malaysian palm shipments in January to India fell 85% from the previous year to 46,876 tonnes, the lowest since 2011.

India accounted for nearly a quarter of Malaysia’s total palm oil exports last year and has been the largest buyer of Malaysian palm oil for five years.
India’s restrictions on Malaysian imports have disrupted global edible oil trade flows, with Indonesia diverting supplies to India, Malaysia rushing to exploit markets left behind by Indonesia and India replacing palm oils by other oils.

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Felix J. Dixon

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