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Sharjah Halal Expo provides players more opportunities in US$1.8 Billion Islamic industry

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Kuala Lumpur: The Second Halal Middle East Exhibition & Congress to be held at the Expo Centre Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Dec 16 to 18 will provide better opportunities for regional players in the US$1.8 billion Islamic finance industry.

Expo Centre Sharjah Director-General Saif Mohammed al Midfa said that the Islamic finance industry has undergone rapid growth in recent years, but it remained an untapped market across many asset classes and geographies.

"We need to redefine our strategies to capitalise on these opportunities. Industry support to this second exhibition and congress will go a long way in creating awareness and planning innovative products to achieve that objective," he said in a statement issued by Expo Centre Sharjah.

According to a research by Ernst & Young global Islamic assets held by commercial banks stood at US$1.3 billion in 2011, but the industry's forecast growth of some 40 per cent over two years will see this figure rise to US$1.8 billion in 2013.

However, industry experts pointed out that the global Islamic finance industry is not growing at its true potential as Syariah-complaint assets account for less than two per cent of conventional equivalents, providing ample room for growth.

Industry observers also pointed out that with the debt crisis deepening in the West, investors are increasingly looking to move away from a speculative financial system, where "Islamic finance's fundamental tenets have helped boost its image as a safe haven."

The event is being organised under the patronage of Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, supported by one of the leading Islamic financial institutions in the region, Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB), which will be a key partner in highlighting halal finance opportunities for participants.

The second edition will see the Halal Congress offering a gathering point for food producers, exporters, importers, dealers as well as experts on halal markets and standard.

It will be a comprehensive sourcing point for all halal products, from food to pharmaceuticals and insurance to tourism.

(Courtesy: Bernama)
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