MELAKA, April 20 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is conducting a five-day Palm Oil Economic Mission to Saudi Arabia beginning Monday to discuss the commodity issue, as well as to promote its timber and furniture, Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said.
He said the mission would discuss trade relations between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia in an effort to increase investment in the three commodities, as well as to explore new markets in the Middle East and the Africa.
The effort is also aimed at ensuring the country's palm oil stockpile of 3.2 million tonnes can be sold to the existing and new markets and create a healthy supply chain and demand in order to increase the market price of the commodity, he added.
He said 10 papers will be presented at a two-day seminar and palm oil trading in conjunction with the mission, which will be participated by the Primary Industries Ministry, Palm Oil Council, Malaysian Palm Oil Board and Ankara University.
“This effort is important to ensure that the country's palm oil stockpile is at a healthy level of about two million tonnes, which is not only able to cater for external demand and supply but also the country’s needs," he told reporters after the “Going Back to My Roots” programme in Bachang here, today.
Meanwhile, Shamsul Iskandar said the country's total trade value with Saudi Arabia last year reached RM21.67 billion, up 45.2 per cent compared to 2017, and it is hoped that the mission would help boost the trade value.
He said of the amount, the country's export value was RM3.77 billion, down 11 per cent, while import value rose 67.5 per cent to RM17.9 billion.
On Saudi investment in Malaysia, he said it involved 17 manufacturing projects worth RM5.126 billion last year and they are expected to create about 2,500 jobs.
So far, seven of the Saudi projects involving an investment value of RM58 million have been implemented, he added.
Among Malaysian products exported to Saudi Arabia are palm oil and palm-based products (accounting for 25 per cent of the country's exports), electrical products (12.7 per cent), process food (10 per cent), machinery (8.7 per cent), and palm oil-based manufactured goods (6.4 per cent), he said.
Shamsul Iskandar, who is also Member of Parliament for Hang Tuah jaya, said Saudi Arabia is Malaysia’s second trading partner in the Middle East after he United Arab Emirates (UAE), while for the import sector, Saudi Arabia is the third country after the UAE and Turkey.
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