By THE STAR
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Since the trade embargo on Iran was lifted in January last year, Malaysia exports about RM1 billion (Bt8 billion) of palm oil to the country.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong wants to double that number by 2019.
Mah said he will spend a five-day visit to Tehran next week where he will meet Iran's Health, Finance, Trade Industry and Agriculture Ministers to discuss more trade for palm oil.
“Iran is strategically located and it has a big potential to be a buyer of our palm oil and be a centre for the region,” he said during a press conference in Menara yesterday.
He expects the office to be up and running by mid-2017 but said Malaysia still faced challenges in getting the Middle Eastern country to fully be on board with palm oil.
Malaysia, the second biggest palm oil exporter in the world, when the United States under President Donald Trump pulled out of the TPP, which could have slashed taxes and import duties for 95 per cent of palm oil products to the US.
Despite this, Mah was confident Malaysia could still grow its palm oil exports by five to eight percent this year, with expectations of crude palm oil trading better this year, as an average price of RM2,700 to RM2,800 per tonne has been forecast for 2017 compared with about RM2,600 per tonne last year.