Malaysia stares at huge losses after India alters rule on import of refined palm oil
News Delhi/IBNS: India has moved the import of refined palm oil and palm olein from the “free” to “restricted” category with the aim to bar imports from Malaysia after country's 94-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's comments on the new citizenship law and Kashmir, reports said.
According to media reports, the Indian government has tweaked the rule to stop imports from Malaysia, which is the second-biggest producer of palm oil after Indonesia.
The Malaysian refiners are anticipating huge losses as imports to India are likely to slide down to 1 million tonnes from 4.4 million tonnes in 2019 if situation doesn't improve, reports said.
A notification from the ministry of commerce and industry informed the changes in the rule last weak in a notification.
Reacting to the curb, Mahathir Mohamad said he needed to be frank and speak out if things were wrong while accepting that India's restriction on palm oil imports concerned his country as Malaysia sells a lot of palm oil to India. He said thinking only about the money involved will encourage the wrong things.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs has said the change in the rule was not country-specific, but MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar added that any business would look at the diplomatic relations with the country it wanted to trade with.
Media reports said that the government has informally asked traders to stay away from Malaysian palm oil.
After losing business with India, Malaysia is trying to boost palm oil imports to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt, the Philippines and Vietnam, Malaysian officials have told the media, reports said.
However, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress said the government should resolve the issue with India. It also appealed to governments of both the nations to use all possible diplomatic channels to find a solution to the matter "putting aside personal or diplomatic ego".