Thailand urged to cash in on halal products at MIHAS

Thailand is well placed to become a springboard for exports of Asean halal products to South Asia, the Middle East and the European Union, a Malaysian trade representative said yesterday.
Seamless trade under the Asean Economic Community will allow Thai companies to form a trading network with Malaysia to enter other Muslim countries, said Jai Shankar, Malaysia’s trade commissioner to Thailand and head of the Bangkok office of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation.

“Malaysia will host the world’s largest halal trade fair, and that will offer a good chance for Thai and foreign traders to engage more with Muslim markets,” he said.

With the emerging economies of Muslim countries as well as their growing populations, demand for halal foods and other Islamic-oriented products and services will continue to rise.

Thailand, which is one of the world’s major food suppliers and a strong manufacturing base, should tie up with Malaysia to boost its trading opportunities in the Muslim market, he said.

In 2009, the global market for halal products including foods and non-food products was worth US$2.8 trillion (Bt86.5 billion), of which $570 billion was for halal foods. More than 1.8 billion people in the world are Muslim.

The Muslim market consumes not only halal foods, but also products and services used in daily life, such as cosmetics, medicine, healthcare and medical services, Islamic banking and halal logistics – the shipment of only halal goods in one container.

Halal means “the way”. It is a term designating any object or action that is permissible to use or engage in according to Islamic law.

Thai traders can find partners and learn more about the halal business from Malaysia and the eighth Malaysian International Halal Showcase from April 6-9.

MIHAS will gather trade exhibitors and buyers from across the world.

Malaysia expects that immediate from this year’s event will increase by 10 per cent to Bt700 million from last year’s staging, and potential sales to Bt11 billion.

Also, more Thai traders are expected to join from only two exhibitors and six buyers last year.

The 2010 fair attracted more than 527 exhibitors from 32 countries and 35,386 visitors from 59 countries, Shankar said.