ASEAN January 2020
 
ASEAN countries to increase their focus on Halal Food, Certification
 
Major developing countries in ASEAN are sprucing up their investment efforts to capitalise on the double-digit growth in the US$3.3 trillion global Halal Food Industry.
Top 5 economies in the region namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and even Singapore are scaling up their investments in this industry by setting up dedicated Halal industrial hubs and production centres, while upgrading their Halal certification standards to align with world standards for safety, traceability and hygiene.

Philippines
In the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez has recently advised food companies to venture into the Halal segment. Ramon said, “There is big potential in Halal in the sense that there are many tourists that skip visiting the Philippines because there are only a few places where they can eat.” He said that food companies need to have a change in mindset and view Halal as a ‘lifestyle’ that can be enjoyed by everyone.
He added, “DTI is promoting this because Halal certified food products connote positive attributes such as being clean, healthy and pure. We encourage more companies to apply for Halal certification because it opens more markets, so more consumers can buy their products. Some local companies are already starting by certifying their canned tuna and corned beef products.”
Presently, there are 9 Halal-certifying bodies in the Philippines, namely the Islamic Da'wah Council of the Philippines, Halal Development Institute of the Philippines, Mindanao Halal Authority, Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board, Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries in the Philippines, Mindanao Halal Authority, Islamic Advocate on Halal and Development, Philippine Ulama Congress Organization, Alliance for Halal Integrity in the Philippines Inc., and Prime Aisa Pacific. DTI-Export Marketing Bureau’s Halal Section hopes to get more companies to come forward for assistance in getting Halal certification

Thailand
Compared to many other ASEAN countries, Thailand has picked up on the Halal trade boom much earlier, and recently the world-renown Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC) visited Thailand and praised the country’s high Halal standards as it seeks to promote the export of livestock products to the UAE, a strict-muslim nation.
UAE officials were invited by the Central Islamic Council of Thailand and the Department of Livestock Development to visit slaughter houses in Thailand and check on their food safety standards in December 2019.
EIAC is UAE’s Halal certification agency, and the check was undertaken in accordance with International Organisation for Standardisation guidelines. The approval by EIAC would mean a potential export revenue of over Bt1 billion (US$33 million) for livestock products from Thailand in the near future.

Malaysia
Malaysia is the market leader for the export of Halal food in ASEAN as well as in Asia.
The recent establishment of the International Halal Authority Board (IHAB) has sealed this position further. IHAB was formed as part of an initiative by JAKIM to safeguard the interests of muslims in halal certifications of food products and services.
The IHAB comprises the authorities and halal certification bodies from 45 countries, and seeks to move towards uniformity and harmony in the process of implementing halal certifications in most countries in the world.
As of 3 December 2019, Jakim has recognised 78 halal certification bodies from various countries and the recognitions are given based on the compliance and implementation of the halal standard which adheres to Malaysian characteristics and models. IHAB indirectly promotes coordination at the international level with these halal bodies accepting Malaysian halal standards. Malaysia had been appointed as IHAB Chairman and Secretary General for the 2019-2021 term.
Malaysia’s halal certification covers all aspects including ingredients, the process of preparation, the purity of equipment, cleanliness of the premises and the handling that prioritises compliance with shariah in addition to the safety, quality and integrity assurance aspects of a product or service. JAKIM has also done periodic checks to ensure that there was no abuse of the Halal logo in the country. In addition, the country has also established smart mobile (eg. Verify Halal) and web (www.halal.gov.my) applications to check Halal status of a product in the market.
Malaysia’s Halal certification expertise has even been ‘exported’ overseas when the country’s Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) partners with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) to offer the latter’s 40 clients in Japan its Halal Industry Expert Development Programme. This indirecty will also promote the entry of more Japanese companies into the Halal industry. HDC is now known as the biggest producer of competent Halal industry talents in the world as 1 out of 6 Halal trained experts were certified by HDC.
Latest HDC statistics showed that Malaysia exported RM2.5 billion (US$614 million) of Halal products to Japan alone in 2018 with Halal ingredients contributing 50% followed by food and beverage products (40%).

Indonesia
In Indonesia, F&B companies are now struggling to comply with the mandatory Halal certification regulations particularly those relating to product reaudits for adding new ingredients, halal storage, distribution and means of transportation.
Enforced in October 2019 under the Halal Products Guarantee Law, the law mandated that all non-haram products and services must obtain Halal certification.
The law also shifts the authority to handle the issuance of halal certification from the Indonesian Ulema Council Assessment Institute for Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics (LPPOM MUI) to the Halal Certification Agency (BPJPH) under the Religious Affairs Ministry, although the former is still assigned to evaluate, test and approve the products.
A spokesperson from the Indonesian Food and Beverage Association's (GAPMMI) said it is difficult for food and beverage producers to meet the certification requirements as it required a reaudit every time new ingredients are added. For example, even if they change the flavor of one product, the product will have to be reaudited, whereas previously they only had to verify whether the new ingredients were safe.
In addition, many food transporters are still unaware that they need to get Halal certification for their vehicles too. This will be a challenge for those that transport all types of goods. In addition, Indonesia has only 3 Halal-certified warehouses in the country, one owned by a state-owned enterprise (SOE) and 2 owned by foreign companies from Singapore and Japan.
 

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