Zuraida: Demand for Malaysian palm oil to remain despite Indonesia waiving export levy

KUALA LUMPUR: Demand for Malaysia’s palm oil will continue to rise globally despite Indonesia’s decision to waive its palm oil export levy to cut bloated stockpiles, says Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin (pic).

She said market jitters, if there were any, would only be temporary.

“Whatever it is, the world needs palm oil. The only thing is that of course, our palm oil price will be more expensive than Indonesia’s because they have a sufficient labour force and enough access. Hence, the production is cheaper.

“This situation, however, is just temporary so I’m not too worried about that,” she said in a recent interview.

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After announcing a three-week export ban, the Indonesian government decided to waive the export levy until Aug 31 for palm oil and palm oil products.

The Indonesian government said this was its attempt to boost exports and ease high inventories.

Recently, Zuraida had said that the ministry remained optimistic that China would be increasing its palm oil imports.

Her deputy Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng had also said that the ministry would monitor developments in the palm oil industry following Indonesia’s decision.

“We will look at this matter seriously because it does affect the export (of Malaysia’s palm oil),” he said.

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Meanwhile, Zuraida expressed optimism that the agricommodity sector would achieve RM300bil worth of exports this year.

She said the ministry was keeping its target intact ahead of the three-day Malaysia International Agricommodity Expo and Summit (MIACES) from Tuesday (July 26).

Zuraida said the target was about RM100bil more than last year’s total export value of RM204bil, which itself represented a large increase from 2020’s RM84bil figure.

“The target is achievable and MIACES will help to contribute and add towards the total export target for this year,” she added.

The minister said the summit would be a good platform to showcase the achievements and state of the agricommodity sector in the wake of pressure from the United States and European Union on forced labour allegations.

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The event will see 39 countries taking part with 200 booths set up by both local and international industry players.

The summit will also feature conferences, business matching, round-table discussions and B2B meetings to provide exposure, expand investment potential and maximise business productivity gains in international markets.

MIACES will focus on the palm oil, rubber, timber, cocoa, pepper and kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) sectors, which are among the main drivers of the national economy.

This year’s event is themed “Advancing Agricommodity in a Sustainable Ecosystem”, and will be held at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec). – Bernama