Economy, Domestic Economy

Malaysian Forum Surveys Halal Business Prospects in Iran

Malaysian Forum Surveys Halal Business Prospects in Iran
Malaysian Forum Surveys Halal Business Prospects in Iran

A forum on halal business prospects in Iran opened in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday with the aim of promoting investment in the increasingly lucrative sector and boosting halal trade between the two countries.

The one-day conference was attended by Marzieh Afkham, Iranian ambassador to Malaysia, Datuk Ahmad Maslan, Malaysian deputy minister of international trade and industry, and Jamil Bidin, chief executive officer of Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corporation, IRNA reported.

The forum pursued objectives, such as sharing expertise for developing halal industry and facilitating the operation of Malaysian companies in the Islamic Republic.

According to the official, Malaysia’s halal exports to Iran amounted to $80 million last year, which included foodstuff, beverages, palm oil derivatives, cosmetics and personal hygiene products.

“We are willing to enter the 80-million halal market of Iran. The country’s location in West Asia makes it a gateway for us to the estimated 400-million market of the region,” he said.

Trade value between the two countries amounted to about $487 million last year, registering a 12% decline compared to a year before.

Malaysia has predicted bilateral trade with Iran to experience a 15% rise this year.

The global halal food market is worth $2 trillion per annum while Iran’s share stands at a meager $5-6 million annually, according to Abdolhossein Fakhari, secretary-general of Global Halal Institute.

“The figure indicates that the country has not been able to obtain a fair share of the world trade of halal products, despite the fact that a majority of Iranians are Muslims and 100% of the country’s food consumption and products are halal,” he said.

It is estimated that in 2025, Muslims will constitute 30% of the world’s population and some 20% of the global food trade will be dedicated to halal food.

Derived from the holy Qur’an, halal literally means lawful and refers to any object or action that is permissible to use, consume or engage in, based on the Islamic law.

Under the definition proposed by the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization in 1997, halal food incorporates not only production and processing procedures, but also the manpower, transport, storage and equipment used in different stages.