Indonesia, Malaysia sign MOU on commodity development coop

Putrajaya (Antara News) - Malaysia and Indonesia Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to launch a new series of joint efforts to develop their commodity sectors with the aim of further strengthening their positions as the world's biggest commodity suppliers.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Peter Chin Fah Kui said the scope of cooperation under the MoU covered the supply and demand of commodities, mainly palm oil, cocoa and pepper.

He said the cooperation would also cover the promotion of joint ventures and trading of commodities overseas.

Under the MoU, a mechanism would be established to facilitate a smooth and effective exchange of scientific, technical and marketing information on the commodities and by-products, Chin was quoted by Bernama as saying.

He said the joint committee would also have to plan and subsequently undertake joint technical cooperation and assistance programmes for capacity building and to collaborate in organising workshops, seminars and exhibitions.

"With regard to the methodology of the cooperation and how we are going to work together in the execution or implementation of the MoU, we have decided that there would be a joint committee led by Indonesia?s Agriculture Minister Dr Anton Apriyantono and myself," he told reporters after signing the MoU.

At the signing, Indonesia was represented by Apriyantono.

The coordination of the joint committee had been agreed by both countries at the senior officials meeting held today.

According to Chin, both countries have agreed to the joint committee meeting once a year with the first meeting to be held next month in Indonesia.

He said it was decided that sub-working groups be formed to initiate plans as agreed in the MoU.

From the Malaysian side, on the palm oil area, it will be headed by Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) director-general Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron, while on the cocoa side, it will be headed by Malaysian Cocoa Board director-general Datuk Dr Azhar Ismail.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry secretary-general, Datuk Dr Michael Dosim Lunju, and director-general of agricultural product, marketing and processing in Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry, Dr Djoko Said Damarjati, have been designated as the liason secretaries to facilitate their ministers' duties as joint committee heads.

G-to-G initiative

Chin said the Malaysian-Indonesian partnership on commodity development should not be viewed as a cartel but rather a government-to-government initiative to develop further their commodity industries.

Apriyantono said with the joint committee, Malaysia and Indonesia could monitor and have a check and balance on the pricing of commodities.

He said while Malaysia and Indonesia jointly produced over 80 percent of the palm oil for the international market, they have little say on the prices.

He added that the MoU would act as a catalyst for both countries to further explore opportunities to cooperate in the commodities' upstream and downstream sectors. (*)
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