News From : DagangHalal.com (05 Dec 2011)
Yinchuan, China: As a country where just 1.4 per cent of the population are Muslims, China seems like an unlikely launch pad for an East Asian halal food hub.
While China may be famed for its consumption of certain meats, it is also world-renowned for its low prices. Halal, it appears, is no different.
“Arab countries have been buying halal food from China for a long time. We have no problem with food from China,” Mohammad Al Towaim, a Hong Kong based Arab trader, explained.
Al Towaim points to the low prices of Chinese food compared to traditional markets such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the major exporters of halal food.
China has developed what is called the Ningxia halal food certification system with the assistance of certification authorities in Malaysia. The Malaysian involvement has given the country’s certification methods a lot of credibility among buyers. Chinese halal food makers also use standards and processes enforced in the Arab world, sources said.
But there are quite a few who question the level of transparency involved in forming and implementing halal standards, and the process in which they are made in Chinese factories. Ahmad Wahid, a halal food consultant, advised China to improve its certification standards, and make the production and packaging of halal food more transparent. Buyers should be provided with complete information about producers of halal food in China, and detailed statistics concerning its production and exports, which are areas that must be improved, he said.
Chinese overtures to the UAE and the rest of the Gulf have not gone unnoticed, according to Saeed Al Najjar, senior executive, external relations for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “There are suggestions for collaboration with Chinese halal companies. Our companies are looking at it,” Al Najjar said.
There are signs China has been able to convince the UAE government to seriously consider possibilities of collaboration in this area. Speaking at the ongoing China Arab Trade Forum in the western Chinese city of Yinchuan, Abdullah Ahmad Al Saleh, undersecretary in the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the halal industry could become “a priority area in the economic and trade exchanges between the UAE and China”.