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NZ gains traction on access to Malaysia’s halal market

NZ gains traction on increased access to Malaysia’s halal meat market

Dec. 17 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand may be gaining traction in restoring access to Malaysia’s $666 million imported halal meat market after agreeing to set out the ways the local meat industry will comply with the Muslim nation’s religious requirements for slaughter.

Under an agreement signed this week, New Zealand sets out how it will comply with Malaysia’s halal requirements after Malaysian auditors delisted New Zealand beef processors in 2005 for failing to meet the Southeast Asian nation’s new standards for killing animals.

New Zealand exported $60.8 million of lamb, mutton and beef to Malaysia in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, with shipments recovering from a low plumbed in the same period of 2006, when just $24.2 million was sold. Sales in 2004 were $76 million.

“This has been a long-standing issue and I am very pleased that we have been able to work with Malaysia to find a path that will improve access for our meat exporters,” said Trade Minister Tim Groser.

The agreement signed this week is “an important first step towards improving access” but doesn’t yet signal Malaysia will open up its market. The issue of export restrictions was taken up at a government to government level in 2008.
New Zealand introduced standards for halal certification this year in an effort to provide reassurance to religious auditors in Muslim countries.

The arrangement agreed to this week “provides a framework that reconciles Malaysia’s halal laws with New Zealand’s animal welfare requirements, including that all halal meat produced in New Zealand derives from animals that have been stunned prior to slaughter,” the statement from Groser and Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson said.

The global market for halal food is worth an estimated US$635 billion a year, according to the statement.


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