Philippines and Indonesia to sign MOU on Halal Cooperation

Online informal meeting of the technical teams of the Philippines and Indonesia on 16 November 2020. Photo courtesy of PTIC-Jakarta. I DTI Photo

The Philippines and Indonesia are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation on Halal products quality assurance. This was announced during the virtual edition of the annual Philippine National Halal Conference held on 24-25 November 2020.

The announcement comes after the technical teams of both parties approved the contents of the said MOU in its online meeting on 16 November 2020.

The proposed MOU with Indonesia was initiated as one of the key interests of the Philippines under the economic agenda of the 7th Meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) of Senior Officials for the Implementation of the Philippines-Indonesia MOU on Trade, Investment, Handicrafts and Shipping on 26-27 August 2019 held in Jakarta.

Indonesia welcomed Philippines’ intention to explore cooperation on Halal noting the importance of a Government to Government (G-to-G) mechanism.  This means that the MoU will serve as a framework to facilitate trading of Halal-certified goods between the two markets through a G-to-G arrangement.

“It is our hope that once the MOU is signed, trade of Halal certified goods between the two countries will be easier and many of our local Halal certification bodies will be recognized by Indonesia, provided as well that these Halal certification bodies will have secured accreditation from the Philippine Accreditation Bureau of DTI”, Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman, the chairperson of the TWG, said in a post-event interview.

Indonesia is home to more than 200M Muslim consumers while the Philippines, with its more than ten million domestic Muslim population and Halal policies in place, envisions itself to play a bigger role in the global Halal market. 

“We are now looking forward to the official signing of the MOU the soonest possible time and commence a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for Halal Certification and Accreditation thereafter”, DTI-Export Marketing Bureau Assistant Director Agnes Legaspi noted during her announcement on the recent updates of the MOU during the Halal Conference.

Once the MOU is signed, DTI’s Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) will enter an MRA on Halal certification and accreditation with its counterpart in Indonesia which will provide mechanisms for PAB-accredited local Halal certification bodies (HCBs) to be recognized by Indonesia. This is a requirement of Indonesia for products imported in their market.

DTI’s Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) Director James Empeño has echoed his support to the MOU and on the subsequent crafting of the MRA. He said: “PAB fully supports the establishment of the MOU on Halal Cooperation with Indonesia. We are looking forward to the next step, which is to have an MRA on Halal Accreditation and Certification with our counterpart agency in Indonesia. PAB is hopeful that the MOU and the eventual MRA will pave the way for a strong cooperation between Indonesia and the Philippines in terms of developing Halal products based on International Standards”.

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