International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin called on American bankers Monday to join forces with their Malaysian counterparts in the area of Islamic financial services.
Urging them to cooperate to enter markets in Asean and the Middle East, Muhyiddin said demand for Islamic financial products and investments was increasing, especially in the Middle East.
In addition, demand for such products was also on the rise in the non-Muslim economies in the West, he said at an investment seminar here.
The Malaysia-US Business Opportunities seminar, attended by about 200 representatives from the business sector, was held in conjunction with a trade and investment mission led by the minister.
Covering Detroit and New York in one week from May 13, the 46-member mission comprises government officials and representatives of the private sector. “Malaysia is keen to capitalise on these growth trends and has since positioned itself as an international hub for Islamic banking,” Muhyiddin said.
He said Islamic finance has evolved to become an integral part of the international financial system and was now being offered in more than 75 countries with an asset size of over US$1 trillion (US$1.00=RM3.25).
“It is envisaged that by 2010, Islamic banking will constitute more than 20 percent of the global Islamic banking,” he added.
Muhyiddin also said that Malaysia has been cited as a model for good governance and has one of the most extensive and effective regulatory Syariah and legal framework for Islamic banking and finance.
He also encouraged American businessmen to source halal products from Malaysia as well as to explore new market opportunities with their Malaysian counterparts.
The minister said Malaysian halal products were gaining international recognition and they were able to meet stringent benchmarks such as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Malaysia has distinct advantages in the supply of halal products, he said. On another note, Muhyiddin said Malaysia’s trade with the United States increased four-fold to US$43.4 billion in 2007 from US$9.9 billion in 1990.
Malaysia’s total trade with the US, through the Port of New York and New Jersey in 2007, was valued at US$2.4 billion, up by 20 percent compared with US$2 billion in 2006.
New York, the last leg of the trade and investment mission, is the leading centre of banking, finance and communications in the US.