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By Norsyafawati Ab Wahab

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 (Bernama) — Peru aims to position itself as a halal food products exporter after obtaining Malaysia’s halal certification this year.

Vice Foreign Trade Minister of Peru Teresa Stella Mera Gomez said the country’s representative is now in talks with the Halal Development Corporation Bhd (HDC) and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim).

Leveraging on Malaysia’s halal industry development experience, Gomez said a related memorandum of understanding is expected to be sealed in a few months. 

The halal ecosystem is needed as Peru is currently boosting its agriculture industry while at the same time reducing dependency on the mining sector.

“In 2000, Peru’s exports to Malaysia were worth US$22 million (US$1=RM4.71) mainly contributed by the mining sector (79 per cent) and a mere 0.5 per cent from the agriculture.

“Last year, our exports to Malaysia amounted to US$245 million, contributed by mining at 69 per cent and agriculture at 29 per cent,” she told Bernama.

She said this on the sidelines of the Inter-Regional Business Forum: Empowering Relations Between Latin American-The Caribbean & Southeast Asian Countries here, today. 

“Peru has high-quality agricultural products, and cocoa bean is our main export product to Malaysia. Recently, we have gained market access for avocado and pomegranate. We also see high demands for quinoa among Malaysians,” she said.

During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic leaders’ meeting in November last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim expressed a commitment to the President of Peru, Dina Ercilia Boluarte Zegarra’s request to help facilitate halal certification of Peruvian products, as Malaysia’s halal certification is recognised worldwide.

Meanwhile, Gomez said the country also aimed to strengthen its bilateral trade via joint-ventures with Malaysian companies to invest in Peru, particularly for renewable energy, semiconductor, rubber gloves, and palm oil industries, backed by Malaysian advancement in technology and knowledge in those areas.

“Malaysia can also make Peru a hub to export to and explore opportunities in other Latin American countries,” she added.

Malaysia is Peru’s 11th largest trading partner in Asia and 25th largest in the world, with the highest bilateral trade worth US$455.912 million recorded last year.


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