A multi-million pound halal factory and business hub in the Humber has moved a step closer with the signing of a deal to boost trade between East Yorkshire and Malaysia.
The region’s local enterprise partnership (LEP) and North East Lincolnshire Council have agreed a memorandum of understanding with the Malaysian Government to explore new market opportunities.
In partnership with the Penang state department for halal industries, they will look to develop a business park for producing the meat.
First floated on a trade mission to Malaysia and Singapore – run by the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, the LEP and the Bondholders marketing organisation – the idea is to bring a distribution centre to the estuary.
Dato Abdul Malik, Malaysian state minister for consumer affairs and chairman of the Penang International Halal Hub, said: “We look forward to working closely together to share our strengths including Penang’s manufacturing sector and for the halal industries and the Humber’s food and energy sectors, with the potential of a distribution centre sited in the Humber region.”
The memorandum sets out how its three signatories can support each other in providing economic benefits.
It will also see extra help for East Yorkshire businesses looking to trade in Malaysia.
LEP chief executive Kishor Tailor said: “This formalises and builds on the new connections that we have made with Malaysia and allows us to continue to identify new markets and opportunities for Humber companies to export as well as explore the possibilities of inward investment opportunities.
“The region’s strong connections with Malaysia, through the university and through visits between the area of Penang and the Humber, offer the chance to explore opportunities of mutual benefit.
“Our port has excellent trading routes with Europe and with significant development land close to our ports there is a chance to look at opportunities linked to new markets working with the Malaysian government.”
An International Halal Expo and Conference will be hosted by Penang State in January 2015.
The Mail understands it is likely a factory will be built on the south bank, although no final decision has yet been made.
North East Lincolnshire Council leader Chris Shaw said: “The signing of this memorandum of understanding is further evidence of international interest in coming to the area.
“Here, we have the space and the appetite to welcome growth that furthers our core aim of creating a stronger economy.
“We’ll be pushing forward on ways of working with the Malaysian government to develop opportunities to attract business from the Far East and do the best for the people that live and work in North East Lincolnshire.”