GCC Halal food imports set to jump to $53bn by 2020

Updated 08 November 2014

GCC Halal food imports set to jump to $53bn by 2020

The annual 9th Dubai International Food Safety Conference and Exhibition (DIFSC), being held in Dubai from tomorrow until Nov. 11, is organized by the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality with the support of International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) and Institute of Food Technologists.
The importance of this conference is the global food supply, which is getting increasingly complex. The increase of food safety challenges and reports of widespread food-borne illnesses require individuals and organizations to collaborate and collectively work to address them.
The conference aims discuss how people protect the highly complex and growing global food supply chain with innovation and a strong desire to change the way things are done to create a better future, according to its organizers.
"Halal food will be the focus of attention of this year’s conference,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.
He said: “Halal food has an estimated annual global market value of $1 trillion, which equates to approximately 20 percent of a global food market predicted to reach $5.3 trillion by the end of 2014. Halal food imports into the GCC are set to jump from $25.8 billion in 2010 to $53.1 billion by 2020.”
He added: “Halal food imports into the UAE annually will reach $8.4 billion by the end of the decade.”
Khalid Sherif, director of food control department at Dubai Municipality, said: "This new initiative represents an engaging, value-added proposition for our global network of food manufacturers and traders.”
Halal food, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is defined by Islamic law as lawful food permitted for consumption.
Halal food cannot consist of or contain anything which is considered unlawful under Islamic law and there are strict criteria governing the entire supply chain - from slaughtering of animals, processing and transportation to kitchen preparation and storage, he added.
The principal food inspection officer at Dubai Municipality, Bobby Krishna believes that "the four days at the conference will be spent on learning, discussion and constructive arguments and, above all, paving the way for sharing our responsibilities and challenges."

Russia's Gazprombank freezes accounts of Venezuela's PDVSA - source

Updated 33 min 57 sec ago

Russia's Gazprombank freezes accounts of Venezuela's PDVSA - source

MOSCOW: Russian lender Gazprombank has decided to freeze the accounts of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and halted transactions with the firm to reduce the risk of the bank falling under U.S. sanctions, a Gazprombank source told Reuters on Sunday.

While many foreign firms have been cutting their exposure to PDVSA since the sanctions were imposed, the fact that a lender closely aligned with the Russian state is following suit is significant because the Kremlin has been among Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s staunchest supporters.

“PDVSA’s accounts are currently frozen. As you’ll understand, operations cannot be carried out,” the source said. Gazprombank did not reply to a Reuters request for a comment.

PDVSA brandished the story as “fake news” on its Twitter account in capital red letters, but did not reply to a request for comment.

Reuters reported this month that PDVSA was telling customers of its joint ventures to deposit oil sales proceeds in its Gazprombank accounts, according to sources and an internal document, in a move to try to sideline fresh U.S. sanctions on PDVSA.

Washington says the sanctions, imposed on Jan. 28, are aimed at blocking Maduro’s access to the country’s oil revenue after opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president and received widespread Western support.

Gazprombank is Russia’s third biggest lender by assets and includes among its shareholders Russian state gas company Gazprom.

The bank has held PDVSA accounts for several years. In 2013, PDVSA said it signed a deal with Gazprombank for $1 billion (£774 million) in financing for the Petrozamora company. The source said that Petrozamora accounts were frozen, too.

Russian officials have said they stand by Maduro and have condemned opposition actions as a U.S.-inspired ploy to usurp power in Caracas.

But Russian firms find themselves in a quandary, caught between a desire to endorse the Kremlin line and back Maduro, and the fear that by doing so they could expose themselves to secondary U.S. sanctions which would harm their businesses.