Malaysia strengthens halal trade, investment with Japan


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OSAKA (Feb 22): Malaysia continued to advance as a global halal hub by signing two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with Japan on Thursday to strengthen halal trade, investment and quality employment in the sector in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The cooperation also aims to enhance bilateral trade relations between the two countries in the halal industry.

The first MOU signing ceremony involved the Halal Development Corporation Berhad (HDC), an agency under the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI), and AEON Co (M) Berhad to promote Malaysian halal products in Japan.

Meanwhile, HDC has also collaborated with the Japan Halal Association (JHA) to enhance infrastructure and halal certification in Japan.

HDC was represented by its Chief Executive Officer Hairol Ariffein Sahari while AEON (M) by its Deputy Managing Director, Tsugutoshi Seko and JHA by its President Hind Hitomi Lemon.

The MOUs signing ceremony, which took place here, was witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the Chairman of the Malaysia Halal Industry Development Council and HDC Chairman, Khairul Azwan Harun.

Through the collaboration with AEON (M), the company will provide business guidance to Malaysian halal industry players to penetrate the Japanese market, promote the HDC Halal Integrated Platform (HIP), and organise presentation sessions to promote halal products.

HDC will also collaborate in providing halal training programmes for Japanese halal industry players to facilitate their entry into the halal market.

Through cooperation with JHA, the focus will be on human capital development and expertise sharing to streamline halal certification processes for restaurants in Japan.

HDC and JHA gave their commitment to promoting halal integrity aspects globally and empowering local businesses as vital steps towards advancing the halal industry and supporting the Muslim community in Japan and worldwide.

Earlier, Ahmad Zahid, who is on a seven-day working visit to Japan, led a Malaysian delegation in meeting with leading Japanese halal industry players in the Roundtable Session: ‘Connecting Halal Ecosystems Between Malaysia and Japan to Enhance Trade, Investment, and Quality Employment.’

In his address at the session, Ahmad Zahid said the meeting laid a stronger foundation and marked a new chapter in empowering continuous cooperation between Malaysia and Japan, particularly towards enhancing international halal practices and standards.

He said the discussions also highlighted the importance of coordinating cooperation between industry players from both countries to meet the increasing demand for halal goods and services worldwide, which now records a value of over US$3 trillion.

He added that although the Muslim population in Japan is relatively small, the country’s halal market still offers significant opportunities for growth and cooperation in the halal industry.

“For example, Malaysia’s exports reached RM59.46 billion in 2022, with halal exports to Japan amounting to RM3.6 billion. These figures clearly reflect the tremendous potential to be explored in the halal sector trade between the two countries,” he said.

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