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PH, Indonesia to ink Halal trade deal

  • The Philippines and Indonesia are set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Halal cooperation that will facilitate trade of Halal-certified goods between the two markets
  • After the MOU signing, work will start on a mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) on Halal certification and accreditation
  • The MRA will provide mechanisms for Philippine Halal certification bodies to be recognized by Indonesia, a requirement for products imported into the Indonesian market

Online informal meeting of the technical teams of the Philippines and Indonesia on November 16, 2020. Photo courtesy of Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Jakarta.

Trade in Halal-certified goods between the Philippines and Indonesia is expected to improve as the two countries have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in Halal product quality assurance.

The two nations are set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore cooperation, including on trade facilitation and Halal goods certification, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a statement.

The proposed MOU was one of the key initiatives of the Philippines at the 7th Meeting of the Joint Working Group of Senior Officials for the Implementation of the Philippines-Indonesia MOU on Trade, Investment, Handicrafts and Shipping held in August last year.

DTI said this means the MOU will serve as a framework to facilitate trading of Halal-certified goods between the two markets through a government-to-government arrangement.

The term halal is particularly associated with Islamic dietary laws and especially meat processed and prepared in accordance with those requirements.

Trade undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman said they hope that once the MOU is signed, “trade of Halal certified goods between the two countries will be easier and many of our local Halal certification bodies will be recognized by Indonesia.”

This is provided these Halal certification bodies secure accreditation from DTI’s Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB), Macatoman said.

DTI Export Marketing Bureau assistant director Agnes Legaspi said they look forward to the MOU signing “the soonest possible time and commence a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for Halal Certification and Accreditation thereafter.”

Once the MOU is sealed, DTI’s PAB will enter into an MRA on Halal certification and accreditation with its counterpart in Indonesia. The MRA will provide mechanisms for PAB-accredited local Halal certification bodies to be recognized by Indonesia, a requirement of Indonesia for products imported into its market.

Said PAB director James Empeño: “PAB fully supports the establishment of the MOU on Halal Cooperation with Indonesia. We are looking forward to the next step, which is to have an MRA on Halal Accreditation and Certification with our counterpart agency in Indonesia,” he said.

The MOU and the eventual MRA “will pave the way for a strong cooperation between Indonesia and the Philippines in terms of developing Halal products based on International Standards,” Empeño said.

Indonesia is home to more than 200 million Muslim consumers while the Philippines, has more than 10 million domestic Muslim population. The Philippines has put Halal policies in place as it envisions playing a bigger role in the global Halal market.

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