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Malaysia's Sime Darby, China food giant sign deal to produce palm oil-based products

[BEIJING] Malaysia's Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Sime Darby Plantation Berhad, and state-owned China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (Cofco) on the last day of his five-day visit to China.

Cofco will be working together with Sime Darby in a joint venture to set up plants in Malaysia to produce palm oil-based products for the Chinese market, reported Malaysiakini news website.

Malaysia's Sime Darby is the world's largest oil palm planter by land size. Cofco is one of China's state-owned food processing and agriculture supply chain company.

The signing of the MoU between Sime Darby executive deputy chairperson and managing director Mohamad Bakke Salleh and Cofco Oils and Oilseeds chairperson Dong Wei was held at China World Summit Wing Hotel in Beijing.

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Speaking to the press after the ceremony, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said such cooperation will invite more foreign investors to develop downstream industries in Malaysia to produce palm oil-based products, reported Malaysiakini .

"Palm oil is a commodity that always faces unstable pricing in the international market. Cofco is a company that produces food products in China and this is the company that will use palm oil.

"Therefore, we invite Cofco via a joint venture with Sime Darby and set up plants in Malaysia to use our palm oil to produce products that we can export to China's market and to other countries as well," she was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.

Earlier on Tuesday, Dr Mahathir visited the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), China's largest agricultural research organisation.

Dr Mahathir spent about an hour at the National Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Park in the academy, reported the New Straits Times.

THE STRAITS TIMES