Singapore, May 27: The Malaysian Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry hope to increase crude palm oil export to India if New Delhi reduces its current 7.5 per cent import duties on refined palm oil. ''I am meeting India's Agriculture Minister and our discussions will be mostly on how we can improve trade volume between India and Malaysia especially palm oil,'' Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Peter Chin Fah Kui told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Mr Chin is leading a 50-member delegation to Mumbai on May 29 and 30 to participate in the Malaysia-India Palm Oil Trade Seminar being held 29-30 May. Malaysian palm oil exports to India has been on the decline since 2002 when India imposed the duty, he pointed out. India was Malaysia's top palm oil importer, taking 2.3 million tonnes in 2003. But last year, it was ranked sixth biggest Malaysian palm oil buyer after China, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the US and Japan.
According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board data, India bought 142,395 tonnes of palm oil in the first four months of this year, a hefty 16 per cent drop from the corresponding months of last year.
China also noted New Delhi's decision to reduce import duty on crude palm oil in March and April to 45 per cent from 52.5 percent previously.
India is the world's second biggest vegetable oil importer, importing half of its edible oil needs -- palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia and soyaoil from Argentina and Brazil.
This year, India is expected to import as much as 4.3 million tonnes of palm oil and 900,000 tonnes of soyaoil to feed its population of 1.13 billion people, according to Malaysia media reports today.
''India buys more palm oil from Indonesia than Malaysia. Also, it imports more crude palm oil than refined palm oil,'' Chin said.