The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) and the United States Halal Chamber of Commerce are eying to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in order to formalize cooperation in the access of halal products from Mindanao to the American Muslim market. Armm Regional Economic Zone Authority Executive Director, Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal said this was discussed during a forum last week hosted by the US Halal Chamber of Commerce for the Armm and Peza.
The signing of the MOU may take place at a planned International Halal Ecozones Summit to be held in October this year in Davao City. Halal is an Arabic word meaning permissible based on Islamic Sharia law and the term can cover both goods, such as foods, drinks, medicines, clothing and cosmetics, and services as well as places. Guiapal said that US Halal Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Habib Ghanim led a group of experts in briefing the Philippine delegation on business opportunities, as well as challenges, in the US halal trade.
Guiapal noted four important areas that should be addressed are consensus on certification requirements that avoid confusing, contradictory and costly requirements; protect the integrity of halal certification in order to avoid loss of confidence by consumers; ensure that claims regarding health and safety are based on science and not on Shariah alone; and, address the relative lack of information on halal markets.
Guiapal said they considered the proposed cooperative effort to be timely because the global halal market is worth about $ 2.77 trillion annually with trade in halal foods at $700 billion, accounting for as much as 12 percent of global trade in agro-food products. Earlier this year, Armm Governor Mujiv Hataman has declared the Polloc Freeport and Ecozone in Parang, Maguindanao as a “halal hub.”
Originally published on www.sunstar.com.ph