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SEA to Ink Pact with Thai Palm Oil Industry for Bilateral Trade Enhancement

The representatives participated in a sequence of fruitful B2B discussions with notable Thai palm oil crushers, refiners, and exporters in Surat Thani.

Shivangi Rai
SEA will sign a MoU with the Thai Palm Oil Crushing Mills Association next month. (Image Courtesy- Pixabay)
SEA will sign a MoU with the Thai Palm Oil Crushing Mills Association next month. (Image Courtesy- Pixabay)

The Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) is set to establish closer ties with the Thai Palm Oil Crushing Mills Association through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at enhancing collaboration and fostering mutually beneficial trade prospects.

BV Mehta, the Executive Director of SEA, disclosed that a delegation of 19 members comprising importers and refiners, led by SEA President Ajay Jhunjhunwala, embarked on an extensive study tour of Thailand's primary oil palm cultivation center in Surat Thani from August 23 to 27.

During their stay, the delegation engaged in a series of constructive B2B meetings with notable Thai palm oil crushers, refiners, and exporters in Surat Thani. These interactions facilitated a more profound comprehension of the capabilities of Thai producers and exporters.

Additionally, the itinerary encompassed a visit to Krabi Port, which provided invaluable insights into the logistical aspects of supplying crude palm oil to India.

Mehta further revealed that the delegation held in-depth discussions with high-ranking Thai government officials, including Tamasak Wicharaya, Deputy Secretary General to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs; Burin Sukphisal, a member of the Thai Palm Oil Policy Committee; and Supatra Sawaengsri, Director at the Department of International Trade Promotion of Thailand's Ministry of Commerce.

These conversations primarily revolved around the Thai government's long-term policies for oil palm development and the potential for bolstering bilateral trade by increasing the export of crude palm oil to India.

In collaboration with its partner organization Solidaridad, SEA extended an offer to assist the Thai palm oil crushing industry in crafting a sustainable palm oil framework tailored to local conditions. This proposition was warmly received, indicating a positive inclination towards collaboration.

Highlighting the strengthening bonds between Indian importers, refiners, and their Thai counterparts, Mehta announced that the formal signing of the MoU between SEA and the Thai Palm Oil Crushing Mills Association is scheduled to occur during SEA's 60th-anniversary celebration on September 28 in Mumbai. The event is expected to be attended by a prominent delegation from the Thai palm oil complex.

India's yearly imports of vegetable oil, which exceed 14 million tonnes, encompass a significant portion of palm oil products. Approximately 8 to 8.5 million tonnes are primarily sourced from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Notably, Thailand has emerged as a key player in this market, producing around 3.2 to 3.5 million tonnes of crude palm oil annually. Of this output, approximately 1 million tonnes is predominantly exported to India. Thai palm oil presently constitutes a substantial 15 percent of India's overall palm oil imports.

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