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Malaysia to expand palm oil exports to Korea

A top Malaysian official expressed hope that South Korea would import more palm oil products from the Southeast Asian country.

“Korea is a very strategic trade partner and an important market for Malaysian palm oil,” said Dato’ Ar. Wan Khair-il Anuar, Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman in an interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul on Monday. 
Dato’ Ar. Wan Khair-il Anuar, chairman of Malaysian (Palm Oil Board)
Dato’ Ar. Wan Khair-il Anuar, chairman of Malaysian (Palm Oil Board)

The high-level official, who is also a member of parliament representing Kuala Kangsar, is on a five-day visit to Seoul to promote the nutritional excellence and industrial strength of Malaysian palm oil at the 2015 Malaysia-South Korea Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar, or POTS.

In 2014, Malaysia exported 855,000 tons of palm products to South Korea, generating about $500 million in export revenue, according to the Malaysian government data. Palm oil takes up about 44 percent, or 374,000 tons, and palm kernel cake, mostly used in South Korean animal feed, takes up about 40 percent, or 341,000 tons.

“In addition to promoting the goodness of palm oil to the public, we particularly expect the South Korean industries to look into how they can capitalize on palm oil products,” he said.

The oil is rich in tocopherol ― a class of chemical compounds with vitamin E ― helps drop the cholesterol level, and with its high absorption rate is a superior material for skin care, cosmetics products and health supplements.

Despite the success of the palm oil business, the industry has been constantly challenged by anti-palm oil campaigns alleging that it is saturated and unhealthy.

“We have responded to these allegations accordingly by carrying out extensive research with globally recognized centers and proved that palm oil is indeed a nutritionally superior oil,” said Wan Khair-il Anuar.

A recent study by the Australian institute Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, revealed that palm oil is as healthy as olive oil in its effects on blood lipid.

The board chairman also stressed palm oil’s sustainability as a source of bioenergy.

“We have also developed our own Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Standard to help the whole industry to achieve sustainability requirements,” he said.

By Chung Joo-won (