News From : DagangHalal.com (03 Jun 2009)
KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 (Bernama) — The government expects the halal industry, touted as a new growth sector in light of its huge potential, to grow by 25 percent this year, said Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir.
“Yes. It is a target. Whether we can achieve it or not, it’s another matter,” he told a media briefing after officiating at the opening of the seminar on “Effective Entry Into Middle East Market” here Tuesday.
The two-day seminar, which starts today, is organised by the Halal Industry Development Corp.
Earlier, speaking at the opening of the seminar, Mukhriz said the rising affluence of Muslims worldwide and the increasing awareness on halal, have created a huge demand for halal products and services.
“Globally, it is estimated that the value of halal market is US$2.1 trillion (US$1=RM3.44). The size is certainly a lucrative business enticement for entrepreneurs,”.
Mukhriz said Malaysian exporters should consider the Middle East as a new business destination.
“They should also use the region as a gateway to the US and European Union markets as there were growing demand for Malaysian products such as palm oil and machinery,” he said.
He said Malaysian companies should also explore the possibility of marketing halal food in the Middle East.
“It is important to be aware that the Middle East is now opening up to more inward investments.
“In Saudi Arabia, foreign companies are allowed to engage in trading activities through joint venture with local entities and in Kuwait, taxes from foreign firms’ earnings have been cut to 15 percent from 55 percent,” he said.
He said the realisation of the country’s vision to be a leader in halal industry required active participation by the private sector.
“The private sector must intensify their investments in new production areas, upgrade existing facilities, intensify research and development, technology acquisition, marketing and promotion,” he said.
Muhkriz said to facilitate the private sector, a wide range of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives as well as infrastructure support has been put in place to assist themt enhance their capacity to meet the market demands.
He said incentives were also available to encourage foreign investments in this sector.
Muhkriz said the ministry, through its agency, the Small and Medium Industries Development Corp (SMIDEC), has helped small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing financial assistance in the form of matching grants and soft loans.
“As at Apr 30, 2009, a total of 22,861 applications from SMEs for the various grants and soft loan schemes valued at RM1.01 billion were approved by SMIDEC,” he said.