The heads of the two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 15 April in Kuala Lumpur during an eight-day study tour organized by ITC for the Moroccan delegation. The delegation comprised representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, institutions such as ASMEX, Fédération Nationale de l’Agroalimentaire, Institut Marocain de Normalisation, Maroc Export, Office National de Sécurité Sanitaire des produits Alimentaires, and a group of companies from the processed-foods sector.
The signing ceremony was facilitated by H.E. Mr. Ahmed Faouzi, the Ambassador of Morocco in Malaysia. ITC was represented by Sadiq Syed, Programme Officer of the Export Development for Employment Creation (EDEC) programme in Morocco.
The study tour, from 11 to 18 April, focused on developing Moroccan exports in the Halal sector for the Malaysian market. During the week-long stay in Malaysia, the delegation made business contacts with Malaysian enterprises and participated in the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS), one of the largest international exhibitions for halal.
‘Malaysia could be a platform for Moroccan products in ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], which represents a population of 750 million,’ said Mohamed Essaber, Chief of the Division for Export Support at the Ministry of Foreign Trade in Morocco. ‘Likewise, Morocco can be a platform for Malaysian products reaching out to African and European markets.’
The Moroccan delegation met with industry experts at the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), Halal Industry Development Corporation and Standards Malaysia to learn more about the halal system and trade opportunities. Participants attended workshops on quality and standards, laboratory testing, audit and certification procedures, and marketing and branding concepts. Meetings between the ministries, institutions and authorities of both countries were also held to further develop opportunities for cooperation.
‘If the halal certification process can work as a trade enhancer rather than a technical obstacle, there is huge potential for both countries to benefit from each other’s markets,’ said Mr. Syed, who is also the ITC focal point for the halal sector.
As a result of the study tour, businesses promoting mutual trade and cooperation agreements are connecting with institutions in Malaysia and Morocco.
The EDEC programme, financed by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, is implemented by ITC in coordination with the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Trade.