: Malaysian palm oil and related products are the main pillars that will boost its trade with South Korea (the Republic of Korea), said Malaysian Ambassador to the republic, Datuk Rohana Ramli.
She said South Korea's total imports of palm oil from Malaysia grew by 53.62 per cent from US$236.5 million in 2010 to US$363.3 million in 2014.
"Malaysia's imports from the Republic of Korea comprised mainly electrical and electronics products as well as iron and steel products while Malaysia's exports to the Republic of Korea included non-metallic mineral products, processed food and commodities including crude rubber and palm oil," she told Bernama after her welcoming remarks at the Malaysia-South Korea Palm Oil Trade Fair & Seminar (POTS) on Monday.
According to the latest figures provided by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), exports of palm products in 2014 to South Korea, comprising palm oil, palm kernel oil, palm kernel cake, oleo-chemicals, finished products such as shortening and margarine, biodiesel and other palm-based products, amounted to US$491.2 million, up from US$434.8 million the previous year.
Malaysian palm oil exports to South Korea in 2014 increased to 374,091 tonnes valued at US$281 million, from 353,843 tonnes worth US$240.6 million in 2013.
Rohana said the scope and volume of trade between Malaysia and South Korea, particularly for palm oil and related products, could be further expanded through the POTS event and marketing promotion as well as through economic cooperation under the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement and the second wave of Malaysia's Look East Policy.
The ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which went into force in 2007 aims to promote trade, services and investments by lowering tariff barriers and liberalisation of trade in services, with tariffs to reduce to zero for most products by 2010 for trade between South Korea and six major ASEAN countries -- Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Malaysia's second wave of the Look East Policy was introduced in 2012, following the first Look East Policy introduced by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that aimed to strengthen political and economic relations with East Asian nations, namely Japan and South Korea.
The second wave will focus on Malaysia's Economic Transformation Programme and South Korea's Creative Economy.
"The Ministry of International Trade and Industry's (MITI) trade and investment missions over the past years have also been a driving factor for trade between Malaysia and South Korea," she said.