KUALA LUMPUR: Belgium is committed to importing more palm oil from Malaysia for its food industry, according to its ambassador to Malaysia Daniel Dargent (pic).
Dargent said Belgium was also interested in further collaborations with Malaysia on the palm oil industry.
He pointed out that a leading Belgian company, Oleon NV, had undertaken investments in the oleochemical sector in Malaysia, which used processed palm oil for producing downstream products.
“Oleon NV is also interested in producing various palm oil products with United Plantations Bhd,” he told StarBiz.
The Embassy of Belgium’s trade commissioner Eric de Lame said that Biotech International Asia, a subsidiary of Biotech International, which is a Belgium-based company in Malaysia, assisted the South-East Asian palm oil industry to generate, capture and use biogas from palm oil mill effluents.
He added that Biotech’s current focus in South-East Asia was on the palm oil industry for the next five years.
“These Belgian companies prove that Belgium has interest in palm oil, as there are Belgian companies producing palm oil abroad in Indonesia and Africa,” Dargent said.
He added that market forces would dictate the demand for palm oil in Belgium, which has no official barriers to palm oil imports.
In the coming years, he said, there would be a shortage of food globally, which would lead to an increase in demand for Malaysian palm oil.
“We want to kick off discussions and opportunities with Malaysia on the palm oil industry,” he said. He pointed out that both countries had a strong trade relationship, as Belgium exported 600 million euros (RM2.5bil) worth of products to Malaysia and imported 700 million euros (RM2.95bil) worth of goods from Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Belgium’s biggest economic delegation to Malaysia, led by Princess Astrid, from Nov 22 to Nov 26 involves 300 participants who will focus on reinforcing business and economic ties between the two countries.
The director-general of the Belgian foreign trade agency Marc Bogaerts said more than 12 commercial agreements would be signed between Belgian and Malaysian companies.
“The memoranda of understanding between several Malaysian and Belgian companies prove that there are grounds for mutual benefits, as it serves as a platform to create a win-win situation for the companies,” Bogaerts said. De Lame said that commercial agreements would focus mainly on the halal food industry, logistics, green technology, healthcare and Islamic finance.
He added that Malaysia’s strategic importance to Belgium compared with other countries in the Asean region was due to the higher productivity of its workers, efficient logistics infrastructure, friendly people, skilled workforce and the quality of life in the country.
“Belgium is ready and willing to find mutual grounds for business and partnership, as we see tremendous interest from businesses from both countries to find opportunities for skills and technology exchange,” Dargent said.