Global halal industry players must recognise each other to have a single standard: Zahid

KUALA LUMPUR: The global halal industry players must recognise each other's certification body in order to have a single halal standard, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister said currently there are more than 200 certification bodies throughout the world that produces their own halal certificate and logo.

"The possibility of having a single harmonised standard seems remote.

"However, there could still be a solution. We should foster mutual recognition of each other's certification," Ahmad Zahid said when launching the Malaysian International Halal Showcase (Mihas) held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here.

Also present was former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) chairman Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad and chief executive officer Dr Mohd Shahreen Zainooreen Madros.

Ahmad Zahid said the global halal market needs to be larger as the supply of halal products is unable to meet the growing demand.

He added the number of Muslims in South Asia and the Pacific region alone is expected to reach 1.3 billion by 2030.

"While Asia has remained Malaysia's strongest traditional market for halal products, the United States with eight million Muslims and Europe with 40 million Muslims, present vast opportunities to grow.

"Only a few countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Australia are producing and exporting halal goods," he said.

The trade fair this year drew some 580 exhibitors from 33 countries.

Mihas which started today and ends on April 8 aims to provide a platform for Malaysian and international companies in the halal industry to forge trade relations and encourage knowledge exchange in business and innovation.