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The Humber LEP and its local authority partner North East Lincolnshire Council have signed an MOU with Halal Penang to explore new market opportunities.

There have been a number of conversations and visits between the Humber region and Halal Penang, the Penang State Government agency of Malaysia responsible for promotion, facilitation and development of the halal industries in Penang.

The agreement formalises how the three parties will support each other in exploring opportunities that could provide economic benefit to both areas.

This will include Humber businesses being supported to do business with Malaysia and South East Asia and collaboration between all three parties to look at the possibilities for developing a halal industries/business park for Halal product and services, including the promotion of innovation and technology transfer.

Dato Abdul Malik, State Minister for Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Chairman of Penang International Halal Hub, said:

“We look forward to working closely together to share our strengths including Penang’s manufacturing sector and for the halal industries and the Humber’s food and energy sectors, with the potential of a distribution centre sited in the Humber region.”

The idea for the distribution centre was raised on a trade mission to Malaysia and Singapore run by the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Bondholders marketing organisation.

Kishor Tailor, Chief Executive at Humber LEP, said:

“The MOU formalises and builds on the new connections that we have made with Malaysia and allows us to continue to identify new markets and opportunities for Humber companies to export as well as explore the possibilities of inward investment opportunities.

“The region’s strong connections with Malaysia, through the University and through visits between the area of Penang and the Humber, offer the chance to explore opportunities of mutual benefit.

“Our port has excellent trading routes with Europe and with significant development land close to our ports there is a chance to look at opportunities linked to new markets working with the Malaysian government.”

Councillor Chris Shaw, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is further evidence of international interest in coming to the area.

“Here, we have the space and the appetite to welcome growth that furthers our core aim of creating a stronger economy. Through the MOU, we’ll be pushing forward on ways of working with the Malaysian government to develop opportunities to attract business from the Far East and do the best for the people that live and work in North East Lincolnshire.”

An International Halal Expo and Conference will be hosted by the Penang State in January 2015, which is in its sixth year.