On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trade Ministers from India and Malaysia are likely to meet amid a palm oil spat between the two countries. The row between the countries, nevertheless, pushed benchmark Malaysian palm futures to its worst weekly decline in more than 11 years on Friday.
India is the world's largest importer of palm oil, buying more than 9 million tonnes annually. Hindu majority has repeatedly objected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaking out against its recent policies which critics say discriminates against Muslims. Malaysia being a Muslim majority nation is the second biggest producer and exporter of palm oil. Last week, India imposed restrictions on the refined variety of the commodity which saw retaliation for Mahathir's criticism of New Delhi's actions.
India's trade minister Piyush Goyal denied on Thursday that the government was trying to hit out at Malaysia in particular. As per international media, no agenda for the meeting has been set however it was reported that the request for a meeting had come from India.
Furthermore, it was reported that Malaysia did not want to aggravate the palm spat with India by talking of any retaliation for now, after Mahathir's media adviser called for tighter regulations on Indian expatriates and products. Malaysia instead wants to rely on diplomacy.
Trump, who is already under immense political scrutiny, is likely to be one of the most influential and controversial world leaders to attend the annual event. Other leaders who are expected to attend the event include Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Democratic mega-donor George Soros, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. According to reports, approximately 3,000 leaders from 118 countries are expected at the gathering which is set to take place in Davos from January 21 to January 24.
(with inputs from agencies)
(image credits: PTI)