Dato’ Seri Jamil Bidin, managing director and CEO at Halal Industry Development Industry Corporation (HDC) of Malaysia, told FoodNavigator that the UAE is now a strategic collaborator for the South East-Asian country’s halal industry.
Established on 18 September 2006, the HDC works for the overall development of the halal industry in Malaysia.
“We are looking at UAE as a re-exporter of Malaysian halal foods,” said Bidin, who was attending and speaking at Gulfood, the Middle East’s largest food and beverage industry show.
Malaysia is the world’s largest exporter of halal goods, primarily processed food and beverages. Last year, the country exported $11bn worth of halal goods, though the UAE is not one of its top markets.
“The UAE is at a very strategic location. It is located close to the rest of the MENA [Middle East North Africa] and also provides a gateway to Europe. So it was natural to look at strategic collaboration with them,” said Bidin.
“The UAE can look at Malaysia as a sourcing country…where the product can come certified from Malaysia and then re-exported to countries in Europe and North Africa,” he added. “The UAE is strong in trading and we want to leverage that.”
Malaysia is one of the pioneers in halal certification, having introduced a national standard about four decades ago, said Bidin, which has been accepted by CODEX and also replicated by many other nations, making it one of most recognized type of standards in the world.
According to Bidin, a MoU has already been signed between the two countries in this regard and teams from the UAE are already making trips to Malaysia to understand and evaluate their certification process.
Bidin also pointed out that the UAE government has publicly declared its intention to become the hub of the global Islamic economy, which supports Malaysia’s intentions to use it has a gateway to other markets.