Guangxi to buy more palm oil

NANNING: China's southern province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, plans to buy more Malaysian palm oil as its food processing industry advances and its 48.6 million population grows, said several government officials.

It now imports around 20,000-30,000 tonnes of palm oil from IOI Corp Bhd.

"We welcome Malaysia's investment. The oils and grain sector is a strategic area of focus," said Li Xing, vice-mayor of Qinzhou port city.
"Over the last decade, Singapore's Nobel Group has upgraded its grain processing plant to produce 600,000 tonnes of soyameal a year to feed the pigs, water buffaloes and poultry farms here," she told Business Times on the sidelines of a media preview of the China-Asean Expo (Caexpo) here recently.

This year's Caexpo, a series which started in 2004, will be held here from October 20 to 24. The Caexpo series is the only international expo jointly sponsored by the governments of China and Asean. Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) is coordinating Malaysia's participation.

"Guangxi imports palm oil for cooking oil and margarine. These food ingredients are used in the cake, bread and biscuit industry," said Jiang He Sheng, vice-mayor of Quigang city.

Apart from small shipments into Guangxi province, IOI Group's main client is China's largest food and oil trader, Cofco Ltd.

Other palm oil giants with extensive refineries in Indonesia such as privately-held Musim Mas Group, Singapore's Wilmar International Ltd and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd trade regularly with China. With 1.3 billion people, China is the largest vegetable oil consumer in the world. Last year, it imported 6.6 million tonnes of palm oil.

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which nestles among Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan and Guangdong provinces, has a coastline of 1,500km. It was reported the Guangxi government will pump in six billion yuan this year to expedite port facility upgrades to meet greater demand from Asean.

Currently, its three ports, namely Beihai, Fangchenggang and Qinzhou, have established routes with 220 ports in 80 countries. The total annual throughput of the ports rose by 16.3 per cent year-on-year to reach 94 million tonnes in 2009.

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