Malaysia should try to penetrate Russia’s Halal food market

kazan-russia-city-sceneryKUALA LUMPUR — Russia is seeking to build greater business collaboration with both the government and private sector in Malaysia.

Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexey Likhachev said the areas of collaboration sought includes transportation, infrastructure development and banking.

“Malaysia is well equipped with high technology in research development as well and offers a lot of other business opportunities.

“We also hope to see more Malaysian companies coming to Russia and establishing a presence there, even as we look at expanding our own businesses here,” he told the media at the opening of the Russia-Malaysia Business Forum, here Wednesday.

The one-day forum, organised by the Asean-Russia Business Council and Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, is aimed at strengthening the economies of both countries, while sustaining growth amid the challenging environment.

There are also business matching sessions scheduled for during the event.

Likhachev said the current areas of investments with Malaysia are food manufacturing, tobacco and beverages and machinery.

Malaysia’s total trade with Russia charted an increase of 66.6 per cent to US$1.8 billion (RM5.7 billion) last year, against US$1.1 billion (RM3.4 billion) in 2012.

Total exports to Russia amounted to US635.5 million (RM2 billion), while imports from the Federation stood at US$1.1 billion (RM3.7 billion).

Meanwhile, Miti Deputy Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri said he hoped the forum would have a positive impact on Malaysia’s growth in terms of total trade.

“While, the Russians are expanding their market here, Malaysia should also look into tapping business opportunities in that country, especially in the halal industry as there is Muslim population there.

 “This forum can thus be a platform for local companies to penetrate Russia via the halal food market and also Islamic finance, even as Malaysia works towards becoming the global halal champion,” he added.

According to Hamim, Malaysia is seeking to increase trade with Russia in the aerospace, electrical and electronics, medical and pharmaceutical fields.

On pharmaceuticals, companies from both nations are currently working on a five-year project to produce a dengue vaccine, a first in the world. The pharmaceutical plant for the RM250 million project is located in Pahang.

The project will begin with research and development, construction design, product design and formulation, as well as pre-clinical studies on rodents at institutes in Russia.

During this period, Malaysian scientists will participate via an exchange programme to acquire knowledge and technology.