KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 (Bernama)– The Malaysia External
Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) will sign a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) with the International Islamic Trade Finance
Corporation (ITFC), to pave the way for collaboration in areas of trade
promotion and capacity building.

The ITFC, located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was established within
the Islamic Development Bank group, for the principal activity of
providing trade finance and promoting trade within the Organisation of
the Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries.

MATRADE chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin said the
MoU, would be signed tomorrow at the opening of the four-day Malaysia
International Halal Showcase 2009 (MIHAS).

MIHAS is being held at the MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre here.

The exchange of the MoU will be witnessed by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“The key to the MoU is the development and promotion of halal
products and services within the Muslim business community, through the
sharing of experiences and expertise in this sector,” Noharuddin said
during a media briefing today on the MoU.

Towards this end, MATRADE and ITFC Noharuddin said, would continue
to use MIHAS to bring together the Muslim business community in
providing synergies and opportunities for strengthening Islamic trade.

“Currently, intra-OIC trade represents only 14 percent of global
trade. With the implementation of the MoU, more attention would be
given towards the promotion and development of trade amongst the 57
member states,” Noharuddin explained.

He also emphasised that the MoU was aimed at identifying and
undertaking programmes and activities in support of the recommendation
by the Islamic Summit Conference in Makkah, to raise the level of
intra-OIC trade by 20 percent by 2015.

The MoU also includes cooperation in areas such as trade promotion
activities through the sponsorship of members of the business
community, from the least developed countries of the OIC, to
participate as exhibitors and buyers at the annual MIHAS and
International Trade (INTRADE) Malaysia exhibitions organised by MATRADE.

With the technical and financial support of the ITFC, Noharuddin
said MATRADE would also organise seminars and workshops for businessmen
to enhance their skills in trade promotion.

“Both the ITFC and MATRADE will work together to develop a focal
point for the exchange of business information and conduct market
research,” he added.

Meanwhile, ITFC chief executive officer Dr Waleed A. Al-Wohaib
said, the ITFC sees increasing business transactions with Asian
countries inspite the global financial crisis.

“About 52 percent of our funds go to Asian countries. Malaysia is
an important market due to its position as one of the biggest exporting
country within the OIC,” Dr Waleed said.

Dr Waleed said for the first quarter of this year, the ITFC’s
trade financing approval was about US$900 million, when compared to
US$700 million in the first quarter of 2008.