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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia is aiming to become a worldwide hub for food and other products prepared according to Islamic religious rules by offering new tax exemptions to investors in the industry, the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the plan Monday at the World Halal Forum.

A halal designation means a product complies with Islamic principles of hygiene and humane treatment of animals, along with other rules involving production.

The government is seeking growth in halal-processed foods, cosmetics and personal care, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, livestock and meat products, he said. State-backed, halal industry parks have been set up in key states to help investors.

Abdullah said worldwide halal trading in products and services was already estimated to be in the trillions of U.S. dollars and has significant growth potential.