MANILA, Philippines – In a bold move, the predominantly Catholic Philippines is embarking on an ambitious journey to emerge as a key player in the global halal industry. With strategic planning and a resolute vision, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is actively engaged in positioning the country as the Asia-Pacific hub of halal trade and investment. As preparations are underway for a significant engagement with Saudi Arabia’s business community in Riyadh, the Philippines is poised to make its mark on the international halal stage.
The global halal market, estimated to be worth over $7 trillion, has captured the attention of the Philippine government. As part of its comprehensive strategy, Manila is setting its sights on an impressive goal: to achieve approximately $4 billion in halal trade and investments and generate 120,000 new jobs in the sector over the next five years. This vision reflects the Philippines’ commitment to becoming “the most halal-friendly trade and investment hub in the Asia Pacific region,” as articulated by DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual.
The pursuit of this endeavor involves tapping into the increasing demand for halal products and services not only within the Philippines but also across the 57 member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. While the halal food and beverage industry contributes significantly to the global market, the concept of halal extends beyond culinary delights, encompassing sectors such as recreation, travel, financial services, and fashion, among others.
Integral to this strategic move is the involvement of the Filipino Muslim community, constituting approximately 6 percent of the nation’s 110-million population. The government is committed to integrating micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) within the country into the global halal ecosystem. Secretary Pascual emphasized, “Our strategic course is set to cultivate the entire Philippine halal ecosystem. We stand poised to advance the frontiers of the halal industry within our borders, with an eye toward global prominence in the burgeoning halal economy.”
In a bid to attract foreign investment into the halal market, Philippine officials are extending their focus to the Gulf region. An opportunity to explore this potential is unfolding in Riyadh, where President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is set to attend the inaugural summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Pascual expressed, “We will deepen engagement with the business community of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the president leads a delegation to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh. The Philippines is open for business.”
The Philippines’ pursuit of becoming an Asia-Pacific hub of the halal industry reflects the nation’s dedication to economic growth, job creation, and international collaboration. This ambitious venture carries the potential to reshape the economic landscape and strengthen ties with global partners, all while honoring the rich cultural diversity that defines the Philippines.