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Malaysia fetes trade with Korea, palm oil sector VIPs

The Malaysian Embassy and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation co-organized a seminar and dinner reception with the Malaysia Palm Oil Council to boost bilateral trade in Seoul on Wednesday.

The event provided an opportunity for Malaysian trade delegates and experts, as well as leaders in the palm oil sector, to network with South Korean partners, according to Rashid Mohd. Zain, Malaysia’s trade commissioner here.

“Malaysia’s major exports to South Korea are oil and gas products, electronic goods such as integrated circuits and computer parts, and its major imports are electronics like LCDs and integrated circuits and cars. Palm oil was Malaysia’s sixth-biggest export to Korea. It was 2.2 percent of Korea’s total imports from Malaysia,” Zain said at the reception, in which 60 leaders in the palm oil sector participated. “Malaysian palm oil dominates in countries such as Japan and Korea, countries that stress quality products, especially quality food for their people.”

Malaysia is a leading global supplier of palm oil. In Korea, the Southeast Asian nation provides South Korea with nearly 90 percent of its overseas sourcing.

Two-way trade between Malaysia and South Korea increased following the ASEAN-South Korea free trade agreement, which came into force in 2009. Bilateral trade between Malaysia and South Korea was $19.7 billion last year.

“Malaysia has been a sustainable and reliable partner to Korea oils and fats players,” Zain said. South Korea imported about $360 million worth of palm oil in 2012.

Palm oil is a common cooking oil in Southeast Asia. The use of palm oil in the international food industry is on the rise because of a recent change in labeling requirements that has caused a switch away from using trans fats.

Aside from its use in the food industry, palm oil has uses in biodiesel. It was once used in the production of napalm.

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