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YB Dato’ Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Chairman of Matrade

YB Dato’ Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Chairman of Matrade officiated the Malaysia Pavilion at the 29th edition of Gulfood 2024, showcasing the collective strength of 80 Malaysian companies and 5 government agencies. Datuk Seri Ahmad Fadil Bin Shamsuddin, Malaysia’s Ambassador to the UAE and Mohd Fadly Amri Aliaman, Consul General of Malaysia in Dubai were also in attendance.

The successful launch of the Malaysia Pavilion at Gulfood 2024 marks Malaysia's 20th consecutive participation in the exhibition, and is a testament to Matrade’s relentless efforts in facilitating Malaysia’s enterprises to strengthen its global footprints, especially in the Middle East and North Africa(MENA) region by offering a high-quality and innovative food and beverage products that meet global standards, such as the Food Safety Management System (ISO22000), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

The participation of Malaysian companies at Gulfood is timely due to the appealing factor of the event, which serves as a major avenue for F&B industry players to expand and find new buyers. The F&B sector remains the backbone of manufacturing, representing a staggering percentage of global output. Within the UAE and Middle East markets, the demand for F&B goods is on the rise, with around $24 billion worth of products being imported. The UAE imports 85 per cent of the food it consumes and within ASEAN, Malaysia is ranked second as major import source for UAE.

This presents a great opportunity for Malaysia to tap into this market and expand its export of food products to the UAE and surrounding markets.

Considering Malaysia's capability in the F&B sectors, massive opportunities can be gained, driven by the quality of our products. This gives us the upper hand in the standing of Malaysian halal-certified suppliers. This reputation is significantly enhanced through adherence to global industry standards and requirements. Notably, Malaysian halal F&B manufacturers prioritise compliance with internationally recognised standards, ensuring their products meet the highest quality benchmarks.

In his opening speech, Dato’ Seri Reezal informed the audience that Malaysia had achieved remarkable milestones, with exports surpassing RM1 trillion for three consecutive years, reaching RM1.426 trillion in 2023 in trade value. The nation boasts a significant trade surplus, amounting to RM214.1 billion in 2023, underscoring its competence in international trade. Based on a positive economic forecast for 2024, he expressed his confidence and optimism that there is a high possibility our exports will reach another trillion figures by the end of this year, hence reaching new historical heights.

In addition, Dato’ Seri Reezal also announced a new internationalisation initiative for Matrade in driving global trade and business growth. This new venture, known as MIHAS@Middle East, is set to take place in 2024 and is bound to be a remarkable occasion for Matrade in promoting trade and networking opportunities for businesses across borders. This marks a new milestone for MIHAS to be organised for the first time ever, outside of Malaysia after its 20th edition since 2004.

Given its established brand and the limited growth opportunities within the country, it is well time for us to expand the scope of MIHAS beyond national borders, ultimately fostering the growth of halal F&B exports outside the country.

Currently, MIHAS is the largest international halal industry exhibition in the world, having been established in 2004. The exhibition is held annually by MATRADE and serves as an effective platform to internationalize Malaysia's halal products and services on the world stage, while also bolstering Malaysia's position as a key leader in the global halal industry.

As the leading trade promotion agency for Malaysia, MATRADE played a crucial role in organising Malaysian companies' participation at the Gulfood 2024. With the expertise and experience in promoting Malaysian products and services in the global stage, MATRADE ensures participating companies are well-equipped and prepared to showcase their finest offerings at the exhibition.

The agency also provided valuable support and guidance to these companies in terms of marketing strategies, and networking opportunities to make their presence at Gulfood 2024 a resounding success. Through MATRADE’s assistance, the Malaysian companies were able to gain significant exposure, establish partnerships, and potentially expand their market reach at this prestigious event.