On the contrary, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) chief executive officer Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa said, there would be 22 Chinese exhibitors joining the event, making China the third largest participating foreign country after Thailand (29 exhibitors) and South Korea (26 exhibitors).

“Chinese exhibitors have always been one of the largest participants in MIHAS.

“And the US-China trade war does not necessarily have to be negative all the time; it could have a positive impact as well, as Malaysia could provide an alternative to the Chinese importers affected by the 25 per cent tariffs imposed by the US,” he told a media briefing on MIHAS 2019 here today.

Wan Latiff said about 1,000 exhibitors were expected to join the 16th edition of MIHAS at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre this year.

“Sixty-four per cent would be local players, while the remaining would be foreign participants, most of whom are involved in the food and beverages sector,” he said.

Wan Latiff pointed out that the number of Japanese exhibitors also nearly tripled to 13 from five last year ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He was delighted to see the improvement as MATRADE had been working together with its Japanese counterpart, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), for several years to promote the halal industry.

Meanwhile, he urged the local halal industry players to capitalise on MIHAS 2019, dubbed the world’s largest halal trade show, to expand further their businesses.

He said a wide range of programmes, including six conferences and more than 35 seminars, would be held in conjunction the event. They include the Halal Innovation Forum by World Startup Festival, Islamic Tourism Conference by Islamic Tourism Centre and HalalTrip, as well as Halal Career Day.

MIHAS 2019 will be hosted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and organised by MATRADE