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Monday, 16 June 2008

UAE: Abu Dhabi building platform to create global halal industry standard

Abu Dhabi is building a solid platform to create globalised standards in the Halal industry, a rapidly expanding business now reaching 1.8 billion consumers worldwide and worth an estimated US$2.1 trillion.

While Malaysia and Brunei have well established regulatory bodies to verify products that are Halal compliant, and levels of protection are in place in countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, there is a growing demand for a universal standard across all Halal products.

Meeting that demand will require a major combined effort between the industry and government authorities. Abu Dhabi’s role in creating and developing a comprehensive Halal trade event, bringing together major players and experts from around the world, was highlighted today as an important catalyst.

Organisers IIR Middle East announced that the second edition of Halal World Expo, the GCC’s leading event dedicated to the global Halal industry, will take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 11-13 November, 2008.

In making the announcement the company said it was being encouraged by the Abu Dhabi government to ensure the event placed an emphasis on discussion and debate which can help reinforce moves to set up globalised standards for the Halal industry.

“Following on from the event’s successful launch last December, the government sees this year’s exhibition as another crucial step in increasing the role the UAE plays to meet the demand from Halal consumers worldwide,” said Christine Weaver, Exhibition Director for Halal World Expo.

“It will give national industry leaders the chance to work together with global professionals from countries such as Malaysia, South Africa, Brunei, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia which have Halal compliance systems in place.

Added Weaver: “It is often taken for granted that processed food and products available in supermarkets of an Islamic country like the UAE are fully Halal compliant unless stated as being for ‘non muslim’ consumption or use.”

“While there are currently systems in place to protect consumers in the UAE, the rapid growth pattern in the Halal consumer market means there is increasing demand for a globalised standard across all Halal products. A universal standard will provide consumers with peace of mind when making buying decisions which are directly related to their lifestyle and beliefs.”

At a time when the UAE is set to capitalise on the growing Halal cosmetic market, currently worth an estimated Dhs2.06 billion worldwide, the diversity of the Halal industry will be highlighted by Halal World Expo.

This year’s event is introducing an Islamic Finance Pavilion to give particular emphasis to Shari’ah compliant financial services, a sector worth between US$200 and $500 billion annually and of growing interest for world financial markets. The exhibition will also focus on Halal lifestyle products, including Islamic fashion, cosmetics and other health care products, for which there is a growing demand in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East.

With its dense concentration of Muslim consumers, the Middle East is one of the premier users of quality Halal products, and there is huge potential for the Halal industry to produce and distribute high quality, regulation certified Halal products throughout the region.

In the UAE, 80 per cent of imported food is Halal, with products coming from countries such as Brazil and Australia, the latter exporting 43,071 tonnes of mutton, 17,685 tonnes of lamb and 3,312 tonnes of beef to the Middle East in 2006.

Last year the Emirates accounted for 7.77 per cent of the world’s lamb and beef imports and 15.38 per cent of all poultry imports, second only to Saudi Arabia.

The UAE is a major Halal industry hub, importing and channelling an estimated AED550 million worth of Halal merchandise each year, and the Gulf region as a whole has a huge requirement for Halal food.

Brazil is currently one of the biggest exporters of meat and agribusiness in the world, and a substantial percentage of its exports are Halal products. Close to 70 per cent of its exports of one million frozen whole chickens to more than 100 countries is Halal-certified, and most of these go to the GCC countries.


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