The Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has expressed its interest to enter into a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on halal certification and accreditation with Indonesia in a bid to strengthen bilateral economic relations between both countries. The Indonesian government informed the Philippines that there are two ways to undertake the MRA. One way is through government-to-government mechanisms whereby the relevant agencies from respective countries will enter into an arrangement on such cooperation. The other way is for the private sector, in this case the local Philippine Halal Certification Bodies (HCBs), to seek recognition directly with Indonesia. DTI prefers the former for a more comprehensive approach, while the latter could be more tedious and expensive on the part of the HCBs.
The Philippines has recently passed a new halal law known as the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, that provides a comprehensive set of objectives, targets, strategies and activities for the growth of halal industries producing or providing products, processes and services and resulting to increased exports of halal products.
With this law, the Philippines intends to play a significant role in the global halal ecosystem by expanding its coverage to include not only the food sector but also halal services, such as tourism, logistics and Islamic finance and increase market access starting from the neighbor Muslim-majority economies.
Most of Philippines’s exports to Indonesia are in the electronics and tobacco sectors, with barely any food exports. Philippines hopes to strengthen food sector exports to Indonesia through this strategy.