How do you assess HTMC's progress thus far in establishing itself as a global center for halal trade?
HTMC is a one-stop shop with a focus on providing marketing intelligence, halal compliance, and growth support services to the industry, which includes manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers of halal economy products and services. HTMC offers interested parties tailor-made services by utilizing service partners that provide the center with a range of premium services to support companies and businessmen on local, regional, and global levels. HTMC has more than 18 service partners from different sectors and countries that include trade promotion agencies, halal accreditation bodies, specialist research advisory firms, training partners, local and international public institutions, and Islamic banks, amongst others. HTMC is receiving global traction, actively hosting international business delegations from different countries such as China, Indonesia, and Spain, among others. As a part of our global outreach program, we have participated in international trade missions to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, engaging with halal industry players as well as contributing thought leadership in forums related to the Islamic economy. The center is performing and progressing extremely well and has already achieved its targeted goals in line with its mandate. There will be further efforts made to promote and develop HTMC in 2020.
Are there specific markets that you are targeting more than others or from which you are receiving increased interest?
HTMC is focused on capitalizing economic opportunities for the industry players within the halal sector. The center services extend beyond a single market and are focused on the development of the halal industry both regionally and internationally. From a global perspective, we know there are key markets in terms of producing and consuming halal products. We are targeting those countries as their industries are the main contributors to the global halal trade flows. However, we are also experiencing interest from other territories realizing the opportunities available in the global halal market. Some of these requests come from regions such as Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, or Central Asia and increasingly from non-Muslim majority countries as they also want to capitalize from this huge and fast-growing market. Our access to these markets itis substantially supported by our service partners who are geographically spread out in different parts of the world.
Though these services are global, how does the center fit into the mandate of promoting the halal trade through Dubai?
In 2013, His Highness announced his vision to position Dubai as the capital of the Islamic economy, which resulted in the formation of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), which has the mandate of realizing this vision. The Islamic economy comprises the Islamic finance, halal trade, and Islamic lifestyle sectors. HTMC is a key contributor of DIEDC's mandate in activation of the halal trade flows globally and through Dubai. Dubai's strategic position as a global trading hub with vast international connectivity provides a great platform for HTMC to grow the halal industry and achieve its goals. In addition, Dubai in the last few years has been able to attract key stakeholders who contribute to the Islamic economy infrastructure of Dubai, and HTMC is now one of the key components of this ecosystem. As a result of our global interactions, we are also promoting Dubai as a gateway for the global halal industry.
What is your vision for HTMC moving forward?
Our mandate is to be the main reference for the halal industry on a global level. We will further strengthen our services portfolio so we can serve the industry by enabling them to realize economic benefits and outcomes. In the coming years, we will also grow our network with new service partners and achieve our goal of boosting halal trade worldwide. We want global industries to capitalize on HTMC to maximize their share in the growing halal markets.