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Indonesia, PHL close to deal on halal goods

INDONESIA may soon recognize the Philippine halal certification process, opening the door for exports to that country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

The DTI said in a statement Monday that the two countries are in the final stages of working on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that would lead to Indonesia’s recognition of Philippine halal certification bodies accredited by the department.

Indonesian law requires all halal products shipped into the country to be registered with its government certification agency after being certified by the exporting country’s own authorized body.

Halal-certified products are those permitted by Islamic law. Around 87% of Indonesians identify as Muslim, equivalent to more than 220 million people.

The MoU between the department and Indonesia’s certification agency is awaiting confirmation and additional comment from the Indonesian side, Philippine International Trading Center Jakarta Commercial Attaché Jeremiah Reyes said.

“We see this being signed as soon as possible,” he said.

When the MoU is signed, the DTI said a mutual recognition agreement will eliminate the need for repeated compliance testing.

Philippine exporters must comply with halal certification for food and beverages. Starting in October, exporters of medicine, cosmetics, clothes, household equipment, office supplies, and medical equipment will also need to be compliant, the DTI said.

“Through exporting to predominantly Muslim countries like Indonesia, we can also help Filipino businesses pivot to this new market,” Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman said. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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