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Monday, January 20, 2014
Expand Export Of Malaysian Halal Products Using Pakistan As Platform, Says Council
Malaysian companies should make Pakistan a platform to expand the export of halal-based products to the Middle East and Central Asia.
This can be done by utilising its abundant resources, said the Pakistan-Malaysia Business Council chairman, M. Bashir Janmohammed.
Pakistan is ranked fifth globally for milk production, has the second largest rock salt reserves, is the third largest in mango production and the tenth largest for Mandarin orange production, with an animal population of over 110 million for cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, camels, among others.
Bashir was confident that Malaysian companies, with their expertise in processing and packaging, an efficient supply chain and well known marketing skills, can jointly captitalise on Pakistan's unique geographical location.
"Pakistan can serve as a perfect corridor to expand the business in the halal sector," he told Bernama, after a meeting with Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas here last night.
Uggah is leading a palm oil promotion mission to Pakistan and Iran from January 14 to 22.
He is accompanied by Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Chairman, Datuk Lee Yeow Chor, Malaysian Palm Oil Board Director-General, Datuk Dr Choo Yuen May and MPOC Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron.
Bashir also invited Malaysian companies to Pakistan and search for potential joint ventures in various industrial sectors, including ship breaking, pharmaceuticals, palm oil refining, food processing, sports goods and in the
"We also need urgent help in the exploration and production of gas as well as projects in the energy sector," he said.
To date, Malaysian companies have invested in Pakistan in an oil refinery, a liquid cargo terminal, bulking installation of edible oil storage, rice, energy, the infrastructure sector and oil exploration.
On trade, Bashir pointed out that it is crucial to create an awareness of the trade opportunities for the business community of both countries, and maximise on each other's potential to take advantage of the Free Trade
Agreement sealed in November 2007.
Bilateral trade has been on an uptrend since 2007, moving from US$1.362 billion (RM4.49 billion) to touch USUS$2.8 billion in 2011.
Unfortunately, the bilateral trade saw a decline of 24.8% in 2012 to US$2.11 billion, with exports from Pakistan amounting to US$252.89 million and imports from Malaysia at around US$1.86 billion.
Bashir said the balance of trade has been a negative for Pakistan for over a decade and requiring a narrow-down, while increasing Pakistan's exports to Malaysia.
"There is a need to address the trade imbalance by diversifying trade products besides palm oil.
"This can be done by increasing the volume of exports of non-basmati rice, halal food products and frozen seafood to Malaysia. This is given the sizeable demand and fact that Malaysia imports such products from neighbouring countries," he added.
At a dinner with over 30 Pakistani captains of industry, hosted by the Pakistan-Malaysia Business Council last night, Uggah in his speech said:
"Some of the issues raised by the council are under my portfolio and some under other ministries.
"But my responsibility is to take these issues back home for us to consider and improve our trade and investment relations,".
He also expressed hope that the Pakistani business community would realise that Malaysia's population currently stood at around 29 million – slightly higher than that of Karachi – and therefore, purchasing capacity was limited.
He also invited the Pakistani business community to consider Malaysia as a launching pad to penetrate the South East Asian market, home to 500 million people.