KARACHI: Pakistan imported 1.06 million tons of Malaysian palm oil till November 2018, higher than 1.02 million tons imported in 2017, Shamsul Iskandar bin Mohd Akin, deputy minister of Primary Industries in Malaysia said on Saturday.
The deputy minister, who is heading a delegation of officials from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), attended the 4th Pakistan Edible Oil Conference at a local hotel.
He said over the years, the oils and fats trade between these two countries has expanded to products like oleo-chemicals, palm kernel expeller, cooking oil, confectionary fats and many other products being used by the food and non-food industries in Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s oils and fats market has grown significantly, from 2.7 million metric tons in 2000 to over 4.4 million metric tonnes in 2017,” the deputy minister said. The market has grown by almost double over this time, and palm oil alone accounted for more than 50 percent of this total.
“In 2017, Pakistan accounted for 6.1 percent of the total Malaysian palm oil exports and is the third largest single country importer of Malaysian palm oil,” Shamsul Iskandar bin Mohd Akin said.
Malaysian oil export to Pakistan stood at 1.02 million tons in 2017, showing an increase of 15 percent compared to the preceding year. In November of 2018, Malaysian palm oil exports to Pakistan exceeded the volume exported in 2017, and stood at 1.06 million tons or $650 million, he added.
Oil palm plantations currently cover 5.82 million hectares of agriculture land in Malaysia and contributed $18.2 billion to Malaysia’s export earnings in 2017.
“The palm oil industry has been an important and consistent contributor to our country’s economy, and I sincerely believe that it will continue to do so in the long term,” Akin said.
Malaysia and Pakistan have a very long-standing palm oil trade relationship, one that can be traced back more than 40 years, he said, while appreciating the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammed.
He pointed out that one of the agreements reached at the meeting between the premiers was the partial abolition of visa for travel between the two countries.
The deputy minister said Pakistan was among the first export destinations in which Malaysia has major investments in bulking installation and refineries, with the liquid cargo jetty dedicated for the handling of palm oil.
There were other opportunities to tap, considering Pakistan’s strategic geographical location, he said, adding that Malaysian companies were encouraged to come to Pakistan and to collaborate with local companies in developing other areas in oils and fats trade, including oleo-chemicals, biomass utilisation and animal feed.
Palm oil is the leading vegetable oil in the international export trade, accounting for 56 percent of the total world’s oils and fats exports in 2017. Major Malaysian palm oil export destinations are China, India, European Union, Pakistan and the US.
The deputy minister appreciated the office bearers of Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association, All Pakistan Solvent Extractors Association, Pakistan Edible Oil Refiners Association, and Pakistan Soap Manufacturing Association for inviting him for the keynote address.