By Mei Mei Chu
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia is talking to the government of India and trade officials to try to resolve new import restrictions of New Delhi palm oil, said Kuala Lumpur minister on Thursday among trade spat between the countries .
The Indian government of a Hindu government repeatedly challenged Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaking against policies that critics who discriminate against Muslims say. Malaysia is a Muslim majority nation.
India, the world's largest buyer of edible oils, added last week curbs of refined palm oil and it informally asked traders to stop all types of palm oil imported from Malaysia. , the second largest producer and exporter of palm oil in the world.
Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing sources, that New Delhi could restrict petroleum imports, aluminum ingots, liquefied natural gas, computer parts and microprocessors from Malaysia.
No action has been taken to date.
"This year, we note that there will be more challenges in some of our key markets," said Teresa Kok, Malaysian's primary industry minister in charge of palm oil, with an industry conference, referring to new palm import rules. India.
Kok said that the Indian commissioner, the ambassador in Malaysia, was one of the people she had contacted about the issue.
It is "important for us to engage them further through diplomatic channels and stakeholders," she told reporters about the lines of the event. "We will continue to fight."
In some good news for Malaysian palm sellers, Bangladesh's farm minister told Reuters that his open country was buying more from Malaysia if it offered competitive rates.
South Asian country mainly purchases from Indonesia, and is considered the largest beneficiary of the Malaysian-India dispute.
Mahathir, the 94-year-old capital of voice on issues related to the Muslim world, did not ignore a question from Reuters on the boy with India on the side of a separate departure on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Malaysia said he was worried about the palm oil curbs but said he would continue to speak out against "wrong things" even if he defended his country financially.
Last month, he criticized new citizenship laws based on the religion of India, says critics who discriminate against Muslims, and his policies in the Muslim region of Kashmir majority also demand Pakistan.
India was the largest palm oil purchaser in Malaysia in 2019, buying 4.4 million tonnes. In 2020, purchases could fall below 1 million tonnes unless relations improved, Indian traders say.
In return for the potential loss, Malaysian officials say they are trying to sell more to countries such as Pakistan, the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
But it will not be easy to give a giant buyer like India a place, and there are calls for both countries to talk about setting aside any “personal or diplomatic ego”.
The other concern for Malaysia is that China could buy more soyoil from the US and less palm oil in Malaysia after an initial trade signature between the US and China Wednesday.
(Mei Mei Chu reporting; editing Clarence Fernandez and Jason Neely)