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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   14 December 2012 

Korean firms interested in making halal cosmetics


South Korean companies are interested in working with Brunei to manufacture halal (prepared according to Islamic practice) cosmetics for the regional market, the country's ambassador said.

In an interview yesterday, Korean Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Choi Byung Koo said that in terms of halal certification, Brunei had the highest standards in the world.

"My idea is that cosmetics with a halal concept can be successful if a Korean company joins with a Bruneian company," he said, adding that Korean cosmetics were "selling very well in Southeast Asian countries".

He said that in Brunei alone, there were about 30 shops selling cosmetics made in Korea.

He attributed the popularity of Korean-made cosmetics to the "Korean wave" generated by South Korean soap operas.
He said Korean firms were not put off by the small-scale of the Bruneian market.

"Of course the Brunei market is too small, but they see that there is potential with Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as other Islamic countries."
One of the biggest challenges to the business, Choi said, was the lack of halal certification for cosmetics.

"As far as I know, the Brunei government is not yet ready to make a standard criteria for cosmetics in terms of it being halal," he said.
Halal certification for cosmetics is one of the topics that will be discussed at the Brunei business forum organised by the Korean embassy in Brunei.
The inaugural forum aims to help Bruneian firms learn more about Korean business practices.

"All countries and all people are different from each other, and we want to share the unique aspect of the Korean mindset and way of thinking that can be effective in discussions, which is why I wanted to organise this forum," Choi said.

Korean business representatives will be presenting their ideas at the forum, which aims to engage entrepreneurs in an "open and frank" discussion about the obstacles facing business people.

Choi said there would be a 10-person delegation from South Korea representing about 30 to 40 companies interested in investing in Brunei, as well as 20 people from various government organisations and ministries.

"You need two hands in order to make a sound, and Korea is ready. I hope that Bruneian businesses will be able to find the time to be there and listen," he said.

Choi added that he hoped the forum, being held at the Radisson Hotel on December 17, would become an annual event.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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