Malaysia trade authority expects 3 pct growth from country’s biggest halal fair

| 02 April, 2019
 Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
Malaysia trade authority expects 3 pct growth from country’s biggest halal fair
Photo: MATRADE booth at MIHAS 2018. Photo supplied by MIHAS

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is expecting 3 percent growth from last year’s 1.78 billion ringgit ($436 million) trade value for the upcoming Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) 2019, MATRADE chief executive Wan Latiff Wan Musa told Salaam Gateway.

This modest increase is in line with a weakening global expansion—the International Monetary Fund expects global growth of 3.5 percent this year from 3.7 percent in 2018—and lower price of palm-based products.

MATRADE also expects growth from the International Sourcing Programme (INSP), but outcomes will only be announced at the end of the annual trade show.

“The INSP is a pre-arranged business meeting organised by MATRADE where over 400 Malaysian sellers (Malaysian companies) will be matched with 250 high potential buyers from 51 countries. It is a cost-effective platform for Malaysian companies to reach out to global buyers and these buyers are gathered from our global database,” said Wan Musa.

The INSP is complemented by the Hosted Buyers Programme created for exhibitors who do not get to take part in the INSP.

“In addition, [there] is an online business matching platform called MIHAS Connect. This online platform provides exhibitors and buyers an opportunity to schedule business meetings throughout the exhibition.”

Foreign exhibitors, too, are expected to translate their visit into transactions.

“There was an increase of 40.3 percent (RM1.52 billion) during MIHAS last year," said Wann Musa.

"Over the years, we are seeing growing acceptance towards the business matching activities at MIHAS and global acceptance towards Malaysian halal brands thanks to Malaysia’s highly-credible halal logo and certification,” said the chief executive.

MIHAS 2018 trade exhibitors stood at 778 companies from 32 countries.

BEYOND HALAL F&B

MATRADE wants to see more of Malaysia’s halal companies diversify beyond food and beverages.

“In Malaysia, there are around 7,438 companies in the halal industry. Out of this, 70.4 percent are in the F&B industry followed by 23.1 percent in services, 4 percent in cosmetics and 2.6 percent in pharmaceuticals,” said Wan Musa.

“Halal is not limited to food and beverages, it covers a wide spectrum as halal is relevant to all activities within one’s business supply chain. This is why there is a term called ‘Halalan Toyyiban’ – halal is a lifestyle,” he added.

Putting its money where its mouth is, the MATRADE-organised MIHAS will introduce modest fashion as a new cluster this year, in response to growing market demand.

“We hope through MIHAS, the region’s businesses in the industry, especially those from Malaysia, will be able to gain the global exposure for their business,” said Wan Musa.

Existing MIHAS clusters are food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, Islamic finance, halal tourism, e-commerce and logistics.

NEW COUNTRIES

MIHAS 2019 expects to welcome more than 26,000 trade visitors over four days starting on Wednesday. This is up 24 percent from 21,000 last year.

Apart from the usual repeat country participants, MIHAS 2019 will also host new countries, including Australia, Bosnia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Kuwait, Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Switzerland, UAE, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.

“MATRADE is also actively looking at the emerging markets for halal export such as Japan, Taiwan, Philippines and countries in Central Asia and Africa.

“As for the conventional markets like Singapore, China, Japan, USA and Indonesia, we expect to see continuous demand for Malaysian products such as halal ingredients, palm oil derivatives, cosmetics and personal care, industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals,” said the chief executive.

(Reporting by Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim emmy.alim@refinitiv.com)

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