China and Malaysia are on the edge of finalizing an agreement that would allow Malaysia to export fresh durians to the lucrative Chinese market. Additionally, discussions are underway regarding the extension of a visa-free travel arrangement between the two countries later this year, according to Muzambli Markam, the Malaysian consul general in Hong Kong.
The potential deal represents a significant opportunity for Malaysia to tap into the vast Chinese market for durians. Malaysia would be following in the footsteps of neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, which have successfully established themselves as key suppliers of fresh durians to China.
Muzambli Markam also stated that to let Malaysia ship fresh durians to China, there are a few details that are being sorted out by the government. He also told the Post on Wednesday, “We look forward to the approval soon. I was informed that negotiations are in the final stage, and hopefully, we will hear the good news soon. You know how complex these kinds of negotiations are.”
The potential entry of Malaysian durians into the Chinese market could further diversify the offerings for Chinese consumers and contribute to the economic growth of the Southeast Asian nation.
Right now durians from Thailand account for almost two-thirds of the huge market of China, which has occupied over 90 per cent of the global total with 1.4 million tones that were imported the previous year. Most of the remainder arrived from Vietnam while a handful reached from the Philippines to China. The pricey export that is often called the ‘king of fruits’ has captured the consumers of China and is often gifted as a precious gift in major events such as weddings. As compared to the other Southeast Asian counterparts of China, it has not boosted its domestic durian crop to that scale. Currently, only frozen durians are exported from Malaysia to China.
Muzambli also stated that the visa-free entries to Chinese for 30 days since December, are successfully attracting travellers for food, comparatively low prices, and availability of Chinese speakers in the population. Meanwhile, 15-day visa-free entries were offered to the Malaysians by China at the same time. He also asserted, “Having an ease of flow between people of the two countries will only serve to add to our tourism industry. It’s only positive for both sides.”