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US recession poses no threat to halal trade
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
US recession poses no threat to halal trade
By Woon Wu Lin

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KUALA LUMPUR: A recession in the United States will have a minimal impact on the international halal trade as the need to consume halal products is an Islamic tenet, said Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday on the upcoming 5th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas 2008), he said: “A large portion of the trade is in consumer goods; when it comes to consuming something that is halal, it is an Islamic tenet. You can’t compromise on religious tenet.”

“So irrespective of whether the economy is going up or down, if you are consuming something and the halal alternative is available, you should not be consuming something that is not halal,” he added.

Noharuddin also said a recession would not affect the number of participants at Mihas 2008. “The beauty of the current situation is that fortunately for us, many of the Muslim countries are oil exporting countries.

“At the moment they are enjoying the best moment of their lives as the revenue from oil is allowing them to invest and undertake development projects,” he said.
Mihas 2008, to be held from May 7 to May 11, 2008 at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre, will have 600 booths for a targeted 500 participating companies comprising 350 local and 150 international firms. Confirmed participants include companies from US, Turkey, Iran and Australia.

The exhibition is estimated to welcome 40,000 visitors, 3,208 more than last year, and showcase five key sectors; food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and herbal products, cosmetics and healthcare, banking and finance, and food processing and packaging machinery.

Total sales for Mihas 2007 was logged at RM683.2 million, of which RM209.7 million came from immediate sales while the remainder was “sales under negotiation”. Higher sales were expected this year due to the larger number of participants this year, Noharuddin said.

New participants this year include India, while China and Pakistan resume participation after a two-year hiatus. “China is coming in a big way. They have confirmed to take 16 booths,” said Mihas 2008 chief executive officer Mohd Shukri Abdullah.

He added that Mihas 2008 would remain the biggest halal showcase internationally compared to 11 others. India had also recently jumped on the bandwagon, announcing that it would do two halal shows per year.

Matrade estimates the global market value for halal consumable and non-consumable products at RM2.1 trillion annually while halal food products are worth RM150 billion yearly. Islamic financing, takaful and other services are pegged at US$1 trillion (RM3.3 trillion).


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