: Malaysia is looking to expand its halal market to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries including Australia and New Zealand.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia had been working closely with the two countries as they were familiar with Malaysia's halal agenda.
"We are looking for markets in some of these (TPP) countries. For example, in the United States and Canada, where the Muslim population is growing.
"By promoting halal products in those countries, we hope Malaysian exporters would get better market access in some of the TPP countries," he told reporters after the soft launch of the World Halal Week 2016 here, today.
Mustapa said the halal industry was an important agenda for the government in the 11th Malaysia Plan and Halal Industry Development Corporation was recognised as an important focal point to develop Malaysian halal business.
He pointed out that more needed to be done to internationalise the nation's halal agenda in order to help increase the consumption of halal products.
"If the recognition is accorded in every Muslim country, then the prospects of halal industry growth will be much more. The level of consciousness has risen but more needs to be done," said Mustapa.
On trade, he noted that 2015 had recorded a modest growth and the ministry would be more aggressive in export promotion this year.
"We have to recognise that there are limits when the world economy is still struggling in some parts...It is unrealistic to expect a big increase in trade in 2016," said Mustapa.
The 2015 trade performance is expected to be announced this Friday.
Meanwhile, sales generated during the 13th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) 2016 is expected to rise moderately between two and three per cent from RM1.1 billion recorded last year.
Mustapa said the modest growth would be supported by global demand for halal products, adding the showcase was expected to draw 25,000 visitors from 67 countries.
Led by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, the World Halal Week 2016 will take place from March 28 to April 2 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
The event, themed "Beyond the Economy" marks Malaysia's determination to identify untapped potential of the halal industry beyond trade and commercial value.