Saudi Arabia is willing to invest in Italy, which it wants to see become the hub of the halal market in the Mediterranean, according to Fahad Alared, a Saudi member of the Committee for Islamization of Banks.
“We have signed a protocol agreement with the government agency of Malaysia for the development of the halal market (and) for the birth of the ‘Italy Halal Club’,” Alared was quoted by Gazette del Sud as saying this week.
Alared was the Kingdom’s representative to the 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) attending the World Halal Food Council meeting in Rome on March 31.
The meeting was organized by the Italian section of the Halal International Authority (HIA).
He added that “In this way, Malaysia, the largest halal market in the world, will make its experience available to Italy, which will become the leading halal hub in Europe, serving countries of the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, the Balkans and the European countries.”
The OIC representatives said that marketing of certified products that follow halal food standards, prepared according to Islamic tradition, could become a significant factor in the Italian economy and make the country a “halal hub.”
Islamic finance and capital are ready to pull Europe and Italy in particular out of crisis, the participants in the meeting said.
The global halal market is worth 13 trillion euros, growing at an annual rate of 15 percent, the event organizers said.
The stipulation for Italy is that food standards must follow halal, or “conformance” standards in production, logistics and commercialization that are consistent with the precepts of Shariah.
Development would be based on “Islamic financing, which prohibits the application of interest, investment through equity partnerships and the acquisition of company shares” with direct action “in failing companies also.”
“Interested sectors range from food to clothing to tourism to medicine, cosmetics, and body treatments. Among the 270 Italian companies that are already halal-certified many have seen production ‘grow to the point of not being able to keep up with orders coming from Southeast Asia,” Alared said.
*This article was originally published on Arab News on 4 April 2014. Read the original article here.