Highlights:
  1. MITI: New digital possibilities can lead the way for the Halal Industry
  2. JAKIM expects 10 per cent increase in halal exports
  3. ASEAN Economic Minsters to discuss trade agreements and economic integration
  4. Government mulls soda tax to reduce sugar intake
  5. MATTA eyeing RM30 mln sales turnover from Penang fair
Arab Malaysian Chamber of Commerce hosts Business Symposium The Arab Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCC) hosted a business symposium and networking session in Kuala Lumpur today, attended by various government agencies such as SMECorp and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. In his welcoming address, AMCC President Tuan Haji Fauzy said that in the past year, the Chamber has focused on stimulating and encouraging the cross-border trade activities of SMEs and technology-centric initiatives as well as building on key sectors such as the Halal sector, that have yet to reach their full potential. Incorporated in 2009 AMCC has since increased its membership from 70 to over 200 members. The chamber is now connected to over 50 chambers of commerce, commercial associations and investment agencies across the Arab speaking countries and Malaysia, as the Chamber continues in its efforts to be the focal point for business expediency and intelligence. Commenting on the present state of trade between Malaysia and its Arab partners, MITI Minister, Darrell Leiking said, “currently, the cross-investment climate into Malaysia and vice versa is ideal. The opportunities created by America’s trade policy are massive, especially between resource-rich, developing nations such as ours. Therefore, the Look East Policy is not merely a reflection of our own local policy but is now an organic economic opportunity.” He reiterated the importance of the Halal industry to the economic success of both Malaysia and the Arab states, commenting, “the Halal industry has been a proud portfolio of my Ministry for many years, and brought in over RM45 Billion in exports last year alone. Globally, this multi-trillion dollar industry expands at almost 20% annually, and collectively, Malaysia and the Arab states make up the bulk of it.” He also noted that “new developments such as the Global Halal Datapool and Verify Halal lead by Serunai Commerce are prime examples of how new digital possibilities can lead the way for the Halal industry, overcoming barriers to entry such as certification and verification, with traceability from farm to fork and data pools that disseminate and identify FDA adherence.” Meanwhile, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) expects an increase of 10 per cent in halal exports this year from RM45 billion in 2017. Its Director of Halal Hub Division, Datuk Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee said this is backed by the consistently improving demand for halal-certified products not just from Muslim countries but also non-Muslim countries that seek hygienic processes and food safety as well as halal and shariah-compliant services. He said countries with high demand for halal certification from JAKIM include China, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Dr Sirajuddin said approval for halal certification applications by foreign companies currently takes about three months and up to 30 days for local firms. To date, he said 42 countries have recognised the JAKIM halal certification with the latest being Lithuania and Kazakhstan. 50th AEM to evaluate progress of FTA, RCEP Progress in the implementation of various free trade agreements and economic cooperation programmes is among the topics for discussion at the 50th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM), which begins in Singapore tomorrow. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said the five-day meeting will also see ministers deliberating on ways to accelerate the pace of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, bringing it closer to a substantial conclusion. The meeting would also be covering areas related to the broadening and deepening of economic integration within the region and engagements with dialogue partners. MITI Minister Darell Leiking will lead the Malaysian delegation. In conjunction with the AEM, YB Darell will also undertake a working visit to Singapore as part of MITI’s continuous efforts to further strengthen trade and investment ties between Malaysia and Singapore. During the working visit, a line-up of programmes will be conducted, including a series of discussion and networking session with economists, potential investors, local and foreign business chambers, Malaysian diaspora and companies. Government mulling soda tax to encourage healthy living Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government is considering implementing a soda tax to encourage healthy living. He said the move is aimed at reducing sugar consumption, which is a cause of diabetes. “The diabetes rate in Malaysia is very high because we take too much sugar,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. MATTA eyeing RM30 mln sales turnover from Penang fair The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is eyeing RM30 million in sales turnover for the MATTA Fair to be held from September 28 to 30 in Penang. MATTA immediate past president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat said due to the overwhelming success of the previous MATTA Fair early this year, the association has decided to shift the venue from Straits Quay Convention Centre to Setia SPICE Arena to accommodate more exhibition booths. He said there will be about 50 more exhibition booths compared to the previous fair and the association is eyeing a greater. He said the sales turnover from the previous Penang MATTA Fair has increased from RM17 million in 2017 to RM20 million early this year.