1. CAMBODIA which recently ushered in the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relationship with Malaysia can be a land of opportunity for Malaysian downstream palm oil players who are keen to tap overseas markets.

2. As it is, Cambodia which has a population of 17 million is a large importer of Malaysian agriculture products, especially palm oil. In fact, trade volumes between the both countries have only gone up over the years. In 2021, Cambodia imported over seven million tonnes of palm oil compared with only over one million tonnes in the previous year.

3. In this regard, apart from making the Kingdom an export destination for a myriad of palm oil-related products, the Malaysian partner can embark on technology and know-how transfer which will ultimately assist the Cambodian agriculture and plantation sectors to achieve their full potential.

4. In the case of Cambodian rubber products, Malaysia is already a reference point for the standards. The same can be replicated for downstream palm oil products with more Malaysian companies investing in the development of Cambodia’s palm oil sector.

5. Malaysia is currently Cambodia’s third largest investor in Cambodia behind China and South Korea with foreign direct investment (FDI) worth US$3.53 bil from 1994-2020. Thus far, Malaysia’s investments are mainly focused on the banking, telecommunications, power generation and entertainment sectors. In 2021, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Malaysia was worth US$503.004 mil, up 13.03% over the previous year, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE).

6. Cambodian exports to Malaysia stood at US$101.32 mil, up 2.22% while imports totalled US$401.7 mil, up 16.1%. All-in-all, the kingdom’s trade deficit with Malaysia for last year expanded by 21.71% to US$300.37 mil. Major Cambodian exports to Malaysia comprise milled rice, oil palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB), peppercorn, rubber, fabrics, electrical components, and other
industrial and agricultural products, while key imports include auto parts, food and beverages (F&B) and electronics products.

7. With the economy of both countries is recovering well from the COVID-19 setbacks, the Malaysian palm oil is once again penetrating into new markets with international road shows to energise the palm oil market gaining momentum. With over 70 years of experience in palm oil production. Malaysiais capable of enabling Cambodia to play catch-up to its achievement within a
span of five years with rapid technology and knowledge transfer.

8. Rest assured that European Union’s (EU) anti-palm oil campaign has not affected Malaysia’s production or exports. The allegations levelled on Malaysia over forced labour and destruction of the environment are baseless. In fact, 35% of the Malaysian palm oil bears the internationally-acclaimed Malaysian Sustainability Palmolien (MSP) certification. No other country in the world has this level of certification for their palm oil.

9. To complement palm oil downstream players who are interested in solidifying their overseas business presence, I wish to highlight that the Ministry of Plantation Industry and Commodity (MPIC) has embarked on the “Global Movement to Champion the Goodness of Palm Oil” campaign to spark awareness about the high quality of the Malaysian palm oil as well as to counter the various misinformation levelled at the country’s golden oil.

10.The Ministry is committed to strengthening the Agricommodities sector from time to time, especially the palm oil sector, to be stronger, competitive and market-oriented to meet the country's socio-economic development agenda.

12 OCTOBER 2022