The PML-N coalition government has assured no further hike in edible oil prices in the local market despite one of the two leading oil producing and exporting countries Indonesia has placed a temporary ban on exports of the commodity across the world.

“The country is having enough stocks of the oil which is sufficient to fulfill demand of the domestic market over the next two months,” stakeholders said at a maiden meeting of ‘Task Force on Supply of Palm Oil’, chaired by Federal Minister of Commerce and Investment Syed Naveed Qamar on Saturday.

The meeting resolved that Pakistan may import more cooking oil and ghee from Malaysia, if needed, in near future.

Moreover, Indonesia has informed Qamar that it would remove the ban on exports by the third week of May, the meeting noted – that took place at the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association senior vice chairman informed the federal minister that at the current stock levels “the market demand could be met for another two months”.

He informed the minister that more oil would be imported from Malaysia besides exploring other options, and hoarding and smuggling of edible oil would not be allowed among members, said a press statement issued by the ministry of commerce.

The federal minister invited the participants to work together “to avert a hike in price of edible oil and reassured that the government is working towards finding a short- as well as a long-term solution to the problem posed by dependency on Indonesian palm oil imports”.

The meeting was also attended by the ministry of industries and production, additional secretary, ministry of foreign affairs and trade and investment officers posted in Indonesia and Malaysia as well leading businessmen.

Qamar welcomed the participants and informed them that the prime minister had constituted the task force “to ensure there are no disruptions to the supply of palm oil in the local market”.

He further informed that the supply of palm oil from Indonesia had been temporarily halted owing to their domestic issues. However, “he was reassured by his Indonesian counterpart that the supply will be resumed by the third week of May”.

The commerce secretary informed the participants that the matter was being taken up at the highest level and the ministry of industries and production and ministry of foreign affairs were also on board to resolve the issue.

Diplomatic and commercial channels are being used to reverse the unilateral decision of the Indonesian side.

Prior to the meeting, the federal minister for commerce was briefed regarding the activities and working of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). He was informed that TDAP, as a premier trade promotion organisation, has two-fold tasks of trade promotion and trade facilitation.

He was informed that the “trade promotion activities of TDAP include local exhibitions, participation in international exhibitions, delegations, and promotion of Pakistan’s goods and services abroad through various other mediums, including digital and online tools and product promotion campaigns”.

He was further informed that TDAP carries out various activities under the ambit of trade facilitation which include GI registration of indigenous products, GSP and REX registration of exporters, training of new exporters and management of Expo Centre at Karachi and Hyderabad.

The minister appreciated the efforts of TDAP in promoting Pakistan’s goods as well as services across the world.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2022.

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