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18 Mar 2008

Industry

Furthering International Acceptance of Thai Halal Food: Enhancing Export Opportunities in Growing Muslim Markets (Business Brief No.2121)

Thailand's Halal food exports now show good promise, thanks to two supportive factors, including 1) The global Muslim market is growing, spurred by growing Muslim population largely in the Middle East whose purchasing power is increasing in line with huge export income from oil that continues to make new record highs. Moreover, the growing popularity of Halal food has extended to non-Muslim consumers in many countries, who are switching to healthy food products; 2) Thailand has abundant raw materials for the production of Halal food for exports. Being among the world's top net food exporters which has an expertise in the production of quality food products.
The outlook for Thai Halal food exports looks bright in the following markets:
- The Middle East: In particular, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which are the richest of all Muslim countries. The major export destinations within the GCC include the United Arab Emirate and Saudi Arabia.
- ASEAN: Countries that constitute the largest number of Muslim population are Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. Significantly, Indonesia is showing a rosy prospective for Halal food exports because it is the most populous Muslim-majority nation. The growth in demand for certified Halal food is largely seen in the middle-income segment of 20 million consumers.
- Non-Muslim countries: These include Muslim-dominated countries which offer huge potential for Halal food exports such as India which constitute at least 140 million Muslims; China where there are around 40 million Muslims; and the US where there are about 8 million of Muslims. Muslim-Americans are said to have high purchasing power although the number of Muslim populations there are smaller than other countries.
The most challenging tasks to promote Thai Halal food exports lie within cooperation among relevant public and private agencies to effectively create greater international acceptance for Thai Halal food standards. In addition, international competitiveness of Thai Halal food exports should be enhanced to cope with heightened competition from such rivals as Malaysia.

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