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Ningxia, Malaysia's east coast economic region reaches deal to explore halal investments

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 (Xinhua) -- China's Ningxia Light and Textile Industrial Bureau, a provincial authority entrusted to promote light industries, on Friday sealed a collaborative agreement with Malaysia's so-called East Coast Economic Region to explore investment opportunities in the world halal industry.

The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed in Kuantan in Malaysia's Pahang state, covers manufacturing, halal certification, logistics, information sharing policies and research and development targeting industries ranging from processed food, beverage to pharmaceuticals, Muslim garments and cosmetics products.

An ECER spokesman told Xinhua the agreement was at its preliminary stage and concrete details on the level of cooperation would be announced next month when prime minister Najib Razak launches a Malaysia-China joint Industrial Park in Kuantan.

ECER is an economic development corridor based on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia that covers four states.

The 66,000-square-kilometre economic region houses three halal industrial parks for Islamic goods and produce that contribute significantly to a booming 2.13-trillion-U.S. dollar global halal market.

"There is now an international halal superhighway facilitating the cross-border flow of products and services that have a halal lineage. The MoU will boost bilateral trade between Malaysia and China and enable ECER and Ningxia Province to strengthen our respective positions along this lucrative highway," ECER's chief executive officer, Jebasingam Issace John said.

He added that the economic region would share its expertise in planning and developing successful halal parks with its Ningxia partner.

Ningxia autonomous region the home of roughly 11 percent of the 20 million Muslims in China has been designated by the Chinese government as a production base for Muslim food.

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