Malaysia, NZ sign halal meat deal


WELLINGTON – In what is a blow to Pakistani aspirations to break into the global halal industry, New Zealand’s meat exports are set to rise after Malaysia this week agreed to a halal standards agreement, according to a statement.
New Zealand’s meat trade with Malaysia has been restricted since 2005, when Malaysian auditors unlisted many New Zealand beef plants for export as they failed to fully comply with Malaysia’s new halal standards. However, the new agreement, which sets out how New Zealand will meet Malaysia’s halal requirements, is expected to reopen the market.
“This has been a long-standing issue and I am pleased that we have been able to work with Malaysia to find a path that will improve access for our meat exporters,” New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser said in the statement.
“The value of New Zealand meat exports to Malaysia fell from NZ$76 million in 2004 to NZ$26.5 million in 2006. This arrangement will place trade on a more robust footing and enable our exports to Malaysia rise,” he added. Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson also welcomed the news, saying food safety officials had worked hard to show that the country’s meat met Malaysia’s halal requirements.
The arrangement reconciles Malaysia’s halal laws with New Zealand’s animal welfare requirements, including the condition that halal meat comes from animals that have been stunned prior to slaughter.