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Malaysia aims to resolve palm oil spat with India soon

Kuala LumpurĀ 

MALAYSIA has set itself a target of a month within which to resolve its trade dispute with India over palm oil. The deadline follows this week's swearing-in of a new Malaysian cabinet after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin took office last month.

Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali told reporters on Wednesday: "One of the first moves for the new government is to rebuild the relationship with India, especially for the palm oil issue."

India, the biggest buyer of Malaysian palm oil for five years, put curbs in January on purchases, in retaliation for then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad's criticism of its policy on the Himalayan region of Kashmir and a new citizenship law.

Mr Mohd Khairuddin said he wanted to send a delegation to India as soon as possible. "We will put this on the ministry's first agenda," he said. "I set a timeframe of a month."

After India's January curbs on imports of refined palm oil from Malaysia, traders had also held off on buying its crude palm oil. Malaysia's exports to India dropped 54 per cent last month from January, data showed this week. REUTERS