Kuala Lumpur: The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting is visiting China to seek a win-win solution to the dilemma faced by Malaysian bird’s nest exporters as a result of a two year-old import ban imposed by Chinese authorities.
He will make representation to Chinese authorities in Beijing to re-assess the criteria used on the import of raw bird’s nests and also the permissible level of nitrite in processed bird’s nests.
Tan Sri Ong was appointed by the Malaysian Cabinet in late February to tackle the bird’s nest issue which has been ongoing for the last two years.
He pointed out at a meeting on March 11 with those involved in the bird’s nest business that he had spent the last 10 days making an in-depth study of the bird’s nest issue.
He said a task force was set up after his appointment by the Cabinet and since then meetings had been held with senior officials of the ministries of health and agriculture on the issue.
He explained that his meeting with the bird nest operators and exporters was to gain a first-hand knowledge on the real situation and the problems they faced.
Tan Sri Ong, who is also the Chairman of the Malaysia-China Business Council, told a press conference at the MCBC office after the meeting that his urgent task now was to seek a consensus with Chinese authorities on the import of raw bird’s nests and on the permissible level of nitrite in processed bird’s nests in order to work out a win-win solution.
He said it would be difficult to achieve a win-win situation taking into consideration the interests of both countries. However, he added that as Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak had expressed his deep concern on the issue and the Chairman of the Chinese People Political Consultative Conference Mr Jia Qinglin had also mentioned about it recently, the process was now made easier.
Tan Sri Ong said he had been working closely with Chinese Ambassador Datuk Chai Xi and had also reached initial understanding with Health Minister Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Dato’ Seri Noh Omar in having a common stand in the negotiations with China.
“Of course, we are also talking with bird’s nest-related trade organisations to achieve a consensus which is more comprehensive and more representative of the industry before we start talking to Beijing,” he said.
In the meantime, he would continue to make contacts with Chinese authorities in Beijing and once a time was fixed, he would visit China to make representations to the relevant Chinese authorities.
SOURCE: Nanyang Siang Pao, 12 March 2013.
Compiled and translated by Hoo Ban Khee.