The king of fruit will cost more as demand from China drive up prices. File pic.

Prices of local durians are expected to shoot up once Malaysia begins exporting the King of Fruits to China, said Chinese ambassador Chai Xi.

He said his country was expected to import the fruit in huge volumes following Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Malaysia last week.

Malaysian fruits have been barred from entering China since 2003 following a deadlock in talks over market entry, and China imports durian from Thailand at present.

Chai said China, which has a population of 1.3 billion, imported goods in vast quantities.

When met at the Agriculture and Agro-based Ministry here yesterday, he said he was confident Malaysian durians would be popular in China, and quipped that there would be enough supply for Malaysians.

Chai was at the ministry to receive, on behalf of Wen, some 200 durians as a special gift from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The durians were presented by Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar.

Wen, during his recent visit, announced that China was interested to import durians from Malaysia.

Chai said it was up to the Malaysian authorities to work out the import procedures with their counterparts in China.

“I believe many Chinese are looking forward to eating Malaysian durians as it is said to be more varied compared with Thailand’s.

“I have worked in Thailand for 10 years and I know Malaysian durians taste better,” he added.

Noh said ministry officials would make the necessary arrangements to meet the Chinese authorities immediately over importation issues. — The Star