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OPENING ADDRESS
BY

YBHG. DATO’ DR. TAN YEW CHONG
SECRETARY GENERAL,
MINISTRY OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES, MALAYSIA

ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE
11TH CHINA INTERNATIONAL CEREALS AND OILS SUMMIT 2019

10TH JULY 2019, WEDNESDAY
WUHAN, HUBEI PROVINCE, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

Mr. Cao Derong,
President of China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products (CFNA)

His Excellency Djauhari Oratmangun,
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Indonesia to the People’s Republic of China.

Honoured Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning to all of you.

I would like to express my appreciation to the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products (CFNA), organiser of the 11th China International Cereals and Oils Industry Summit 2019 for the invitation to address this conference. I am indeed honoured to be here today among all of you.

2. This is the first time I have been given the opportunity to attend the China International Cereals and Oils Industry Summit which provides an open platform to discuss and exchange information on current and future trends for oils and oilseeds. In addition this event also provides an excellent opportunity to industry players to network and explore future business opportunities in the edible oils and oilseeds industry.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

3. The global economy is currently facing unprecedented challenges.
The rising geopolitical and geo-economic tensions among the world’s major powers create uncertainties to the global market and economics. These tensions represent the most urgent global risks at present. Reconfiguring the relations of deeply integrated countries is fraught with potential risks, and trade and investment relations among many of the world’s powers were difficult in 2018 and 2019. The economic impact affected the global oilseeds and oils markets. From the second half of 2018 to 2019, we see shifting of soybean imports by China from the Northern America to only Southern America. In the meanwhile, China experienced rebalancing of supply and demand for food and animal feed. Price of palm oil dropped to the historical low tide. Nonetheless, we also see new trade developments and opportunities that bring oilseeds and oils from the Eastern Europe and Central and Middle Eastern Asia into China through the Belt and Road Initiatives.

4. The world population is projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050 and the world is under pressure to meet global demands for food and fuel. This will propel demand for commodities as feedstock for calorie, in both food and fuel, production. Hence, as the population increases, more oils and fats are required. The demand for oils and fats was 228.5 million tonnes in 2018, a remarkable increase of 39% as compared with 164.4 million in 2009. The oils and oilseeds industry players will have to produce more on less land within a sustainable framework in order to provide sufficient supply to meet the growing demand. This is not a mission impossible but it requires cooperation and a healthy competition among the industry players. We need to work together in achieving the ultimate goal of supplying sufficient food and energy to the world while maintaining healthy competitions within ourselves. This concept of “COOPTION”, co-existence of cooperation and competition among the producers will ensure our products and services to the world’s market improves continuously, meeting the global trend demands.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

4. China is Malaysia’s biggest trading partner with bilateral trade valued at USD109.34 billion in 2018, a record high since 2014. The bilateral trade increased by 13.4% compared to USD96.46 billion registered in 2017. For first three months of 2019, the bilateral trade was recorded at USD26.37 billion, an increase of 8.6% compared to the corresponding period in 2018. This indeed is a manifestation of the trade relationship established between China and Malaysia. I foresee that this will continue to grow in the future.

5. Among Malaysian products exported to China, palm oil and palm oil products were one of the biggest components valued at USD2.0 billion in 2018 (3.03 million tonnes in 2018). China was also one of Malaysia’s largest export markets for palm oil products, accounting for 11.3% of Malaysia’s global palm oil export in 2018. Malaysian palm oil was also exported to 185 countries which also included EU, India, Pakistan and the USA.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

6. Malaysia is currently one of the largest exporters and producers of palm oil in the world. In 2018, Malaysia produced 19.52 million tonnes of palm oil and exported more than 85% of the production to the global markets. Malaysian palm oil producers have been known to be reliable suppliers and also produce quality and sustainable palm oil products. These attributes have contributed to the preference for Malaysian palm oil by majority of international buyers. This has not happened overnight but is the result of continuous uphill battle and great efforts by the government and industry players for the last 50 years.

7. The government pursues to institute policies and regulations to ensure that the Malaysian oil palm industry remains efficient and competitive in the market. The World Bank through its latest report on “Doing Business” has placed Malaysia in the 15th position this year among the 190 world economies. The World Economic Forum (WEF) also ranked Malaysia as the 25th most competitive nation among 140 countries in 2018. Malaysia is also the second most competitive nation among the ASEAN member countries. These achievements affirm Malaysia’s competitiveness and testify the great efforts undertaken by the government to improve the business environment and make it conducive for sustained economic growth.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
8. Malaysia’s competitiveness has provided opportunities for the private sector to redefine its business approaches, form partnerships and strategic alliances, and to discover new avenues for expanding trade in the palm oil business. In this context, I would like to urge all of you here today to explore new areas of cooperation and enhance current business linkages in the palm oil industry.

9. There are opportunities to explore investments in the oil palm industry in valued-added downstream activities such as oleochemicals, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, specialty products and even consumer products.

10.Malaysia will continue to undertake measures to strengthen the resilience of the palm oil industry. These include enhancing productivity and at the same time ensuring sustainability practices. The Malaysian Government has implemented the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification Scheme to bring the industry towards the next level of sustainable development that balances all the three pillars of sustainability namely people, planet and profit. This will further amplify sustainability and production of better quality palm oil for both food and non-food applications.

11. Malaysia strongly believes that the key to sustain future markets for palm oil lies in product innovation. In this context, focus is given towards research and development (R&D) activities towards developing new palm based products. MPOB has been actively pursuing innovative R&D to expand the application of palm oil in various areas. The wide and diverse applications of palm oil products in the market today in both the food and non-food areas as compared to 15-20 years ago are the testimonies to the success of R&D endeavours. We will continue to magnify our efforts to the growing demand of consumers and markets. The continued growing demand for palm oil and its products in the global market also signifies that palm oil will continue to play a major role in the oils and fats trade.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

12. Year 2019 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Malaysia and China. The 45-year diplomatic tie not only evinces the close working relationship between Malaysia and China, but also the introduction of Malaysia’s golden oil to China which provides a reliable supply of food to the country. It is my sincere hope that the “45th Anniversary of the Friendship between Malaysia and China” will augur well for the palm oil trade between both our countries.

13. I am also glad to note that apart from this conference on oils and oilseeds, there is another international conference on palm oil which will be held this year in Malaysia. I would like to inform you that the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is organising the International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition (PIPOC) 2019 from 19-21 November 2019 in Kuala Lumpur with the theme “Balancing Sustainability Pillars”. This is the biggest palm oil conference in the world which is held biannually. This is an invaluable platform for the palm oil industry to showcase the progress and technological advancements in the industry and also to promote trade and business linkages among all the people in the global palm oil industry. I take this opportunity to invite all of you to participate in this event.

14. In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products for successfully organising this event the eleventh time. I hope this event will continue to flourish in the coming years which in turn will further promote trade in the oils and oilseeds between the two countries.

Thank you.

Ministry of Primary Industries, Malaysia
10 July 2019