The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) said more countries are looking to learn from Malaysia’s expertise in the halal industry, especially in terms of certification, and the ecosystem. Matrade’s Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa said countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Chile, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan had expressed their interest to leverage on Malaysia’s experience as a pioneer in the halal certification and the industry ecosystem. “We are ahead compared with other Muslim countries,” he told Bernama, adding that these new interests would propel Malaysia to continue moving forward in the halal industry. At the same time, he said there was a need to correct the misconception that the halal concept was only for meat whereas it covered the whole process of manufacturing a product. Therefore, he said Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) was looking forward to introducing halal certification for new products including diapers, sanitary pads, as well as medical gloves at the annual event. Datuk Wan Latiff noted that the halal industry was one of the industries that were given a special focus by the government which included the industry’s master plan, as well as the establishment of Majlis Halal Malaysia to coordinate and monitor the implementation of halal initiatives under the master plan. “Due to the government’s commitment, we can see that halal industry in Malaysia is growing rapidly,” he said, adding that at present there were 13 halal standards in the country which served as guidelines for Malaysian companies to thrive in the halal sphere. “There are about 8,000 Malaysian companies that are halal certified with some 1,700 of them are exporters,” said Datuk Wan Latiff. In terms of the industry ecosystem, Datuk Wan Latiff said the country had established a comprehensive system which included certification, facilities as well as funding and market access to allow the industry to grow further. He said the industry aimed to reach RM50 billion in export value by 2020 from RM40 billion last year with major components were food and beverages (F&B), palm oil derivatives, halal ingredients, cosmetics, and skin care and pharmaceuticals products, as well as industrial chemicals. F&B constituted about 50 per cent of the exports, he added. Datuk Wan Latiff added that Muslim consumers spent about US$2.1 trillion in 2018 with US$1.3 trillion was on F&B. Commenting on Japan and Taiwan interest in the halal industry, he said both countries had signed a memorandum of understanding with Matrade last year, to among others, pave the way for the development of halal industry in respective countries. Japan was looking to launch halal campaign for halal tourism in conjunction with Tokyo Olympic 2020, he said. According to Wan Latiff, Japan had received 31 million visitors in 2018 with a million of them was Muslims and of that about 400,000 were Malaysians. “For 2020, they are targeting to receive 40 million tourists including 1.5 million Muslims,” he said. Datuk Wan Latiff said Taiwan too had been exploring Muslim tourism with Malaysia being one of its targeted markets. Taiwan was planning to organise I ts third expo in Malaysia, following the success of its two expos last year, said DatukWan Latiff. As for Kazakhstan, he said Matrade has been working with Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and a local company to develop Islamic finance in the country. “They are looking to attract Malaysian Islamic finance players to provide the services in the country, as well as assisting local banks to understand Islamic finance,” said Datuk Wan Latiff. Source: Bernama