Palm oil from Malaysia and soybean meal from Brazil are of major importance in the world market. State regulation in both countries has played a crucial role in agro-industrial upgrading, i.e. the establishment, consolidation and diversification of manufacturing capacity in the oil seed chains. In particular, sufficient volumes of raw materials for local processing have been secured through systems of differential export taxes. This core set of regulatory mechanisms has been used in both countries, despite structural differences between the two chains related to the properties of the crops (oil palms and soybeans), the previous organisation of agricultural production, and the size and nature of the local markets. Globalization in its present neoliberal form, institutionalised within the World Trade Organisation, gradually erodes the opportunity for other developing country states to upgrade agro-industries by adapting similar forms of regulatory mechanisms.