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Malaysia expects China to become its top commodity importer: minister

Copyfrom:Xinhua News AgencyPost Time:2018-02-05 17:17:54

Malaysian Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mah Siew Keong said Friday that he expects China to become Malaysia's largest commodity importer in two years, underpinned by more collaboration between the two countries in the commodity sector.

"We look forward to working closely with China to further collaboration and growth in the commodity sector. I am optimistic that our exports to China will continue to grow due to the positive ties between the two countries," Mah told a press conference held in conjunction with a visit by Chinese Ambassador Bai Tian.

According to Mah, China and Malaysia are looking at the possibilities of more investment and joint ventures in the commodity sector, especially on Biomass technology in Malaysia.

"Malaysia has a lot of biomass and we believe this is an area we can work on," he added.

The Malaysian government's palm oil promoting agency -- Malaysian Palm Oil Board, is also working with China's Tsinghua University to jointly study biodiesel in China, said Mah.

According to the minister, the exports of Malaysia's palm oil and palm-based products to China from January to November 2017 rose 9.8 percent year-on-year to 8.52 billion ringgit (2.19 billion U.S. dollars). Based on the exports value, China has overtaken India to become the second largest buyer for Malaysian palm oil and palm-based products after the European Union (EU).

Malaysia's rubber and rubber products exports to China for the period also rose 76 percent year-on-year to 7.45 billion ringgit. China has also overtaken the United States and the EU to become the top one destination for Malaysia's rubber and rubber products in 2017, according to Mah.

For his part, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian sees the opportunity for China to import more palm oil and palm products from Malaysia as there will be no limits set on its imports.

The ambassador also said the Chinese government will encourage more Chinese businessmen to invest in Malaysia's commodity industry, such as the biomass industry.

Bai estimated that China may need to import about 8 million tonnes of biodiesel a year, and this would be a great potential market for Malaysia to tap into.

"China is a big consumer country. We are confident that we are going to buy more Malaysian commodity products in the future," he said.

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