Belgium is keen on establishing partnerships with Malaysian companies to develop its halal food process and and shariah-compliant investments in the country. The country is also keen on offering its expertise in the areas of food technology, clean technology, logistics and healthcare to Malaysia.
“For the last two years, we have been developing halal connection between Malaysia and Belgium, because Malaysia already positions itself as the halal gateway to the Muslim economies in Asean, Middle East and Africa.
“Because of the relatively large Muslim community in Belgium, we have developed a program with Halal Club Belgium, which involves 120 Belgian companies in the areas of food, cosmetics, services, research who are looking for specific ingredients in Malaysia, especially with companies that are involved in the production and packaging business,” trade commissioner at Embassy of Belgium in Kuala Lumpur Eric de Lame said.
He said shariah-compliant banks have not yet developed in Belgium and the country is opening its doors to Malaysian companies to do shariah-compliant investments and businesses in Belgium, aimed in connecting Muslim communities in Belgium with Malaysian shariah-compliant businesses. “The whole game here is to look at value chains and identify opportunities for both Malaysian and Belgian companies fill the ‘missing parts’,” he told reporters at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He said halal and shariah-compliant businesses, among others, will be discussed in the upcoming Belgium economic mission to Malaysia, a three-day economic seminar and networking session between companies from the two countries next week in Kuala Lumpur. Belgium delegates will be discussing opportunities and networking with Malaysian expertise such as Halal Development Corporation (HDC), while Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) halal committee chairman Othman Yusoff, who is also halal committee chairman in Nestle Malaysia Bhd, will be presenting a paper on halal agro-food ecosystem in Malaysia.
Eric said another key highlight will be on a Belgian solar panels manufacturer who will be introducing its products and technology to the National Space Agency of Malaysia, tapping opportunities for the solar panels to be used in the country’s future space programs. The economic delegation is being led by Belgium’s Princess Astrid along with deputy ministers, ministers and officers from foreign trade will be present at the event, which will take place in Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur starting Monday next week.
More than 12 agreements will be signed between Malaysian and Belgian companies at the economic event. “Belgium companies who are participating in this economic mission see similarities with Malaysian businesses, which is the key point for their participation in this mission.
“We have developed a lot of technology in medical and healthcare sector, food and clean technology which will benefit Malaysia and similarly, Belgium has a multi-modal logistics sector, namely road, rail sea and air freight that are strategically located to serve Europe faster, Eric said.
Trade exchange last year between Malaysia and Belgium amounted to 1.3 billion Euro, or more than RM5 billion and trade between the two countries has been growing since 2009. “Malaysia is Belgium’s third largest trade partner in Asean and we foresee Malaysia’s economic hold in the region and its importance to Belgium will increase even more,” Ambassador of Belgium to Malaysia Daniel Dargent said.
Belgian industrial investment in Malaysia increased from 15 million Euro in 2012 to 17 million Euro in 2013, making Belgium the fourth largest European investor in Malaysia after Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany. “There is a huge potential for Malaysia in Belgium and moving forward, we can create a stronger investment relationship between the two countries through this economic mission.
“Over the years, more Belgians are coming and discovering Malaysia, with 18,500 tourists visited Malaysia in 2013 while Belgian communities who are living in the country has also increase from 100 two to three years ago to 400 in 2013,” Daniel said. He said the economic mission also aims in encouraging Belgian companies to find opportunities and partnerships to setup base in Malaysia to serve the Asean region.
Originally published on www.themalaysianreserve.com