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‘We are too small to take retaliatory action’: Malaysian PM on India’s palm oil boycott

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LANGKAWI/MALAYSIA: Malaysia is too small a nation to respond to India’s boycott of palm oil with trade retaliation, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday.

“We are too small to take retaliatory action. We have to find ways and means to overcome that,” Mahathir said in Langkawi, a resort island off the western coast of Malaysia.

India’s import curbs big blow to Malaysian palm oil

India’s move to restrict palm oil imports from Malaysia will create a huge challenge for the world’s second biggest producer of the edible oil. India has been Malaysia’s top import market since 2014, according to industry data. Last year, India bought 4.4 million tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia, accounting for 24% of all Malaysian palm oil exports.

India, the world’s largest edible oil buyer, this month halted Malaysian palm oil imports after Mahathir’s comments on Kashmir and new citizenship bill.

India has been Malaysia’s top import market since 2014, according to industry data.

Last year, India bought 4.4 million tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia, accounting for 24% of all Malaysian palm oil exports.

More curbs likely on imports from Malaysia: Key things to know

The government is likely planning more curbs on Malaysia after the Southeast Asian nation’s comments on Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act. The further plan of action may restrict the import of microprocessors and set quality control order for telecom equipment.

The second biggest buyer of Malaysian palm oil, China, bought just 2.4 million tonnes last year, while the third largest buyer was Pakistan with 1.08 million tonnes, according to data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

India is the seventh biggest market for all Malaysian exports, while Malaysia is India’s 17th largest export market.

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