UAE: Sharjah Expo Centre ties up with OIC trade wing to promote Halal fair

Aiming to effectively tap into the nearly US$ 3 trillion global Halal food market, Expo Centre Sharjah (ECS) has tied up with the Morocco-based Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT) to launch the inaugural edition of Halal Food Middle East.

Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of ECS, and Dr El Hassane Hzaine, Director-General of ICDT

The agreement for cooperation was signed between Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of ECS, and Dr El Hassane Hzaine, Director-General of ICDT, in the presence of Mr Mohammed Salem Al Mosharrekh, Board Member, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Alhussaini Alrahmooni, GM’s Consultant, ICDT, and Mr Alami Abdelaziz, In-charge of Trade Promotion, ICDT, in Casablanca, Morocco, recently.

As per the agreement, ICDT, which is the trade and investment promotion wing of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), will play a key role in assisting member states in participating in Halal Food Middle East and disseminating information regarding the fair and the opportunities it offers.

“With more than two billion consumers worldwide, the Halal food industry holds immense promise. The tie-up with ICDT will facilitate better participation and trade interest from OIC member and observer states and help them benefit from this fast-growing sector,” said Mr Midfa.
Halal food currently accounts for approximately one-fifth of the world food trade, and is projected to grow by US$500 billion every year.

“The agreement is very strategic in that ICDT is the official wing of OIC. It can leverage on this status to highlight trade and investment opportunities in the sector, promote member states’ products and assist in negotiations and opening up new trade channels,” said Mr Midfa.

“The agreement also highlights efforts exerted by Expo Centre to expand our presence to newer markets and showcase Sharjah as a commercial and cultural destination. We are also working towards bringing together high-quality Halal products and brands to the show,” he added.

On his part, Dr Hzaine said that Halal Food ME will be a key platform since it is being held in a region that is predominantly Muslim and is geographically close to several countries with large Muslim population such those in the Indian sub-continent and Central Asia.

“Halal Food ME will be one of the most important specialized food shows. The agreement will be a great opportunity for us to support the Halal food sector in the Middle East,” said Dr Hzaine.

The show will help OIC members and observers share their economic experiences, strengthen trade, business and cultural relations among the members and with other major countries who are key players in the industry, he added.

The Sharjah team also visited the Casablanca Chamber of Commerce and Industry and held talks with Morocco’s Minister of Industry, Trade & New Technologies Abdelkader Amara in Rabat, where they discussed ways to enhance trade relations.

Halal Food Middle East, which will be held at Expo Centre Sharjah from December 10-12, 2012, is positioned as a one-stop shop for facilitating and sourcing the sale and purchase of food and related products that conform to the Shariah.

With nearly 20 per cent of the world’s 2.2 billion Muslims living in the Arab World, Halal Food ME will have a ready local and regional market, besides being an attractive platform for other Halal consuming as well as Halal producing countries.

It will be the largest and the most comprehensive show of its kind in the region that will cater to Halal producers, traders and distributers looking to expand their business in the Middle East region.

Apart from OIC member states, countries with significant Muslim population such as India, China, the Philippines and several African and Western countries will take part in the show.

Halal Food ME will be organized by Expo Centre Sharjah in association with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.