By Kim Kwang-tae – YongHapNews.co.kr
ABU DHABI, March 5 (Yonhap) — South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, an official said Thursday, the latest in a series of summits that underscored Seoul’s commitment to further deepening cooperation with the wealthy Gulf state.
The summit is the third between Park and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in just over a year. The crown prince visited South Korea and met with Park in February 2014. They also met during Park’s visit to the oil-rich capital of Abu Dhabi in May last year.
A key centerpiece of Thursday’s summit is a memorandum of understanding on cooperation on halal food products, a move Seoul says could give South Korea’s access to the huge global halal market.
South Korea plans to double its export of halal food products to $1.2 billion by 2017.
Halal is an Arabic word meaning “lawful” or “permitted.” Halal food is prepared according to religious rules for Muslims, but 80 percent of the food comes from non-Muslim countries and companies, according to South Korea.
The global halal market stood at $1.08 trillion in 2012 and is expected to grow to $1.62 trillion in 2018, or 17.4 percent of the global farm and food market in the cited year, according to South Korean data.