"Despite COVID-19, Malaysia-Ukraine bilateral trade in 2020 (January to November) was even better than in 2019 (an increase of 6.4%). For example, from January to November 2020, our total bilateral trade was $310 million. I think COVID-19 does not affect our trade and business. So this is good news," he said.
According to the ambassador, Ukrainian agricultural products have now entered the Malaysian market. "For example, Ukraine is now the No. 1 sunflower oil supplier in Malaysia and also dried peas. Ukraine is the second-biggest supplier of wheat for Malaysia and dried legumes. For the last two years, for the first time, Ukraine has exported fruits (apples) and berries to Malaysia and, of course, Ukrainian chocolates and honey too. Malaysians are now very familiar with your agricultural products and your food products," he said.
Palm oil remains the No.1 product for Malaysian exports to Ukraine. "We are pleased that Ukraine now is the fourth-biggest buyer of Malaysia's palm oil among the European countries after the Netherlands, Italy and Spain," the ambassador said.
Commenting on the prospects for the development of bilateral trade, he added that Malaysia was interested in supplying Ukraine with electronic products, with their share being about 16%, as well as IT products. For the Ukrainian side, the new products that it would like to venture into the Malaysian market include poultry, chicken, meat and, of course, agricultural products, the ambassador said.
Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah also noted that an important event could be a Joint Trade Committee meeting. According to him, Deputy Minister of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine Taras Kachka expressed the readiness of the Ukrainian side to go to Malaysia to take part in such a meeting.
The ambassador recalled that the first online business conference between Malaysia and Ukraine gathered representatives of 300 Malaysian and Ukrainian companies online in October last year. "I think this is one of the success stories in 2020. This was acknowledged by Mr. Dmytro Kuleba, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine. Some top ten Ukrainian companies took part in this conference. This will provide opportunities for business meetings between Malaysian and Ukrainian companies. I hope that there will be some follow-up from this online conference," he said.
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