Halal showcase courts high foreign participation, F&B remains popular segment (pix by MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN)

KUALA LUMPUR: The world is increasingly aware of the economic power of halal goods and this has been demonstrated by the year-on-year increase of foreign participation in the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS).

MIHAS 2017 saw the participation of 580 exhibitors from 33 countries, three times more than last year with the usual suspects being Asean nations as China, Turkey and Japan, among others, making a comeback.

The European region was represented by Belgium, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Austria and Finland.

Speaking at the opening ceremony here earlier, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said that the halal food and beverage (F&B) industry still represents a lion’s share of the exhibitors.

“For this year, F&B represents 60 per cent of the sellers, followed by services at 27 per cent; cosmetics and pharmaceuticals at eight per cent and Islamic banking at five per cent,” he said.

He noted as well that the halal industry has been gaining strong momentum for the past decade, mainly from the growing Muslim population worldwide.

“The halal market is currently valued at US$2.3 trillion annually, and the halal food sector is its core component at US$660 billion,” said Mustapa.

“Malaysia’s export items in the halal sector last year were valued at RM39.3 billion with F&B leading the charge, followed by halal ingredients and palm oil derivatives.”

Malaysia’s top exports markets include China, Singapore, the United States and Japan.

The halal exports sector is also projected to contribute up to 8.7 per cent to Malaysia’s gross domestic products (GDP) by 2020.

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