- 2008/11/03 Dutch firms in Malaysia doing well, says envoy

Dutch companies operating in Malaysia are doing well amid the global economic slowdown following the U.S. credit market crunch, said the Netherlands Ambassador to Malaysia Lody Embrechts.

He said Malaysia's economic fundamentals were "quite okay" and that the country had been saving substantial foreign reserves prior to the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.

"So far, we haven't seen companies running away, dwindling demand for their products and real impact on trade and investment here," he told reporters at a seminar entitled "The Netherlands, Your European Partner in Your International Business."

In fact, Netherlands companies are aggressive in the markets and moving according to their business plans, he said, adding that there was no retrenchment of Malaysian workers reported so far.

On the halal industry, Embrechts said Netherlands was focusing on facilitating halal supply chain between Port Klang and Port of Rotterdam, the point of entry to the European market.

He said the relevant authorities have set up complete certified halal supply chain between both ports.

"There is huge opportunity which is demand driven and we need to act together to ensure Malaysia's certified halal products reach customers."

Embrechts said he also expected Malaysia's palm oil shipping to Netherlands to stabilise next year as there was demand from the market and also due to the implementation of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Certification (RSPO).

He said palm oil exports to Europe dropped last year because of the debate on sustainable palm oil production and uncertainty in the market.

"The first shipment of RSPO to Netherlands will be this month," he said.

Embrechts also said that IOI Corp Bhd has planned to produce biodiesel in Rotterdam and that it was waiting for the outcome of the European Union's biofuels policy.

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