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5 May 2009

Malaysia upbeat over halal exports

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Malaysia’s exports of 'halal' goods will defy the economic downturn and surge to $900 million this year, up 40 percent from two years ago, AFP reported.

Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed said there was strong demand for halal products - deemed acceptable under Islamic laws - from the 57 nations in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

“While intra-OIC trade is still low, I am very confident that given the ... growing demand for halal products ... Malaysia will register a significant increase in trade,” he said according to the official news agency Bernama.

Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, is trying to position itself as a global hub for the halal industry.

Under the concept of halal, pork and its by-products, alcohol and animals not slaughtered according to procedures laid out in the Islamic holy book the Koran are forbidden.

Speaking to a forum on the halal industry, Mustapa said the potential of the global halal market, estimated to be worth $635 billion currently, remained largely untapped.

“The current global Muslim population stands at 1.8 billion. This represents 28 percent of the total world population,” he said. “However, the total global halal food market is significantly lower at 16 percent compared to the size of the global food market, meaning there is a significant gap.”






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