In a strategic move to tap into the burgeoning global halal market, Bangladesh is setting its sights on expanding exports to the Gulf countries, a move underscored by the recent implementation of the government’s inaugural policy on halal certification. This development, as announced by the Bangladesh Islamic Foundation (BIF) on Tuesday, marks a significant shift in the country’s export strategy, aligning with the lucrative global halal market valued at over $3 trillion.
Last month, the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Bangladesh approved a comprehensive halal certification policy. This policy serves as a structured framework and incentive for Bangladeshi companies, encouraging them to align with stringent international halal standards. Such alignment is pivotal for Bangladesh, a South Asian nation where approximately 92% of the population adheres to Islam, as it aims to harness the potential of the expansive halal market.
Abu Saleh Patwary, Deputy Director of the Halal Certification Department at the BIF, emphasized the critical nature of this certification for Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim country. “This halal certification is very important for us… Now, we will be able to explore the export potential of our halal goods,” Patwary remarked in a statement to Arab News.
Since 2007, the BIF, operating under the Ministry of Religious Affairs, has been at the forefront of halal certification matters in Bangladesh. With the new policy, the BIF is now the official body for issuing halal certificates in the country, a responsibility that holds immense potential for boosting Bangladesh’s export profile.
Patwary also highlighted specific target markets, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE identified as key destinations for Bangladeshi halal goods. “We will be aiming to increase exports to Muslim countries, especially in the Gulf region,” he stated, adding that capturing even a modest 2 to 3 percent of the global halal market could significantly bolster Bangladesh’s economy.
The timing of this policy coincides with Bangladeshi businesses actively seeking new opportunities with Gulf nations. Notably, a delegation of the country’s top business leaders visited Saudi Arabia earlier in October, signaling a concerted effort to strengthen economic ties with the Middle East.
Jahangir Alam, a director at the Dhaka School of Economics, echoed the sentiment that halal certification is essential for penetrating Middle Eastern markets. “Most Muslim countries want halal certification to import consumer goods… we need the halal certification very much,” Alam explained to Arab News. He emphasized that this certification would not only enhance the international presence of Bangladeshi products but also simplify the export process.
Alam further suggested that the certification process should be straightforward and user-friendly to maximize the benefits for Bangladeshi enterprises. “The introduction of halal certification will boost sales of goods both locally and globally. Eventually, it will increase the earnings of our foreign currency. It’s a great initiative,” he concluded.
The introduction of halal certification in Bangladesh represents a pivotal moment in the country’s economic landscape. By harnessing the vast potential of the global halal market and fostering stronger trade relations with Gulf countries, Bangladesh is poised to elevate its position on the world stage, enhancing its export profile and contributing significantly to its economic growth.