Philippines: Philippines to seek Brunei’s help in forging halal deals

ALABEL, Sarangani, Philippines—Brunei could prove to be very helpful in the country’s bid to have a major share in the lucrative global halal industry by providing much-needed halal certification, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said.

Domingo, who visited the province recently for the launching of the Central Mindanao’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) caravan, told reporters here that the Philippines still lacked an internationally recognized halal certifying body, which is needed for its meat produce to be acceptable to international halal markets.

Halal certification guarantees that products are fit for consumption by Muslims.

The global halal industry has an estimated consumer base of 1.8 billion.

The Halal Journal, a business magazine focusing on the global halal market, reported that the industry segment grows at $500 billion annually and was valued at $1.2 trillion in 2010.

But the Philippines has failed to get a significant share of the market because of the lack of a certifying body that could convince buyers that the products were prepared in accordance with Islamic law, Domingo said.

Brunei is one of the few countries outside the Middle East that have an internationally recognized halal certifying body.

“One of the things we’ll have to do is talk to the Brunei government to see if they can help develop our halal industry by giving us certification,” Domingo said.

Domingo said the government was optimistic about Bandar Seri Begawan’s support because of a previous agreement on agriculture cooperation.