Indian trade minister confirms no meeting with Malaysian counterpart at Davos amid palm oil row

Jerry Choong
Tensions between the two countries reportedly affecting palm oil trade were said to have reignited following Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s criticism of Hindu-majority India’s new citizenship law, which some claim to be discriminatory against Muslims. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — India’s trade minister Piyush Goyal today confirmed he will not meet with Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Datuk Darell Leiking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland next week amid lingering tensions between the two countries.

Goyal who handles India’s railways and commerce portfolio told Times of India in an interview published today on the south Asian country’s agenda at the world economic forum.

“I do not see it in my calendar,” he was quoted saying when asked pointedly if he will be meeting Leiking at Davos.

An unnamed Indian trade ministry official had indicated as much yesterday to wire agency Reuters, which also reported an anonymous Malaysian government official suggesting the two could still meet on the sidelines of the international forum.

Tensions between the two countries reportedly affecting palm oil trade were said to have reignited following Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s criticism of Hindu-majority India’s new citizenship law, which some claim to be discriminatory against Muslims.

Indian importers claim to have been quietly directed to stop taking in orders for Malaysian palm oil though officially there has been no sanctions.

However, Malaysian Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said Malaysia will continue to engage with India via diplomatic channels over the issue, as well as communicating with local oil palm industry players and stakeholders in India to address issues about the industry.

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