Indonesia’s Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH) and Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) are exploring cooperation in strengthening halal product assurance to enhance the halal product ecosystem.
“We are in the process of finalizing the cooperation agreement between BPJPH and JAKIM,” BPJPH head Aqil Irham said here on Tuesday.
According to Irham, establishing cooperation with Malaysia is crucial in strengthening the halal ecosystem in the ASEAN region and globally.
The cooperation agreement between Indonesia and Malaysia to ensure halal products is seen as a response to technical barriers to trade (TBT) issues, which are often a bone of contention at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) TBT meetings.
The TBT Agreement is one of the WTO’s Uruguay Round agreements that regulate the use of non-tariff measures (NTMs) in international trade.
The TBT Agreement outlines the use of standards and technical regulations covering packaging, marking, and labeling requirements and appropriate testing procedures to prevent barriers to international trade.
“There are still two issues under discussion at JAKIM. Meanwhile, on the Indonesian side, all issues in this cooperation have been discussed at the inter-ministerial/institutional level,” Irham said.
During the meeting with JAKIM, he also shared information on Indonesia’s self-declaration halal certification scheme. He also welcomed Malaysia’s intention to learn about Indonesia’s self-declaration scheme and obtain a halal certificate.
According to Irham, self-declaration marks the new era of halal certification in Indonesia.
In addition to discussing the cooperation agreement with JAKIM, Irham was scheduled to attend the Malaysia-Indonesia Halal Forum and Industry Engagement 2023 on 17 January.
“Insya Allah (God willing), I will attend the Malaysia-Indonesia Halal Forum to convey the policy of halal product assurance in Indonesia,” he said.
Earlier, Irham said there were three parties involved in the halal certification of products submitted by business operators. The three parties are BPJPH, the Halal Audit Agency (LPH), and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).
BPJPH is the institution that sets the regulations and issues the halal certificate. At the same time, LPH conducts the audit and MUI determines the halalness of a product through a fatwa (Islamic legal ruling) process.