Halal Certification - Passport to Islamic Markets

11:18:51 AM | 6/19/2011

For Vietnamese enterprises, especially food businesses, in addition to moneyed markets like South Korea and the United States, Islamic countries are high potential export markets. But, to achieve the best result, they must pay close attention to Halal certificates to approach those markets.
At a seminar titled “Halal Certification - Export Opportunities and Approaches for Vietnamese Businesses” held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City Branch of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI - HCM) on June 8, 2011 in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Chu Thang Trung, Deputy General Director of the Asia - Pacific Markets Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said: While absorbed in penetrating traditional markets, Vietnamese businesses pay almost no heed to vast and potential Islamic markets. Only recently, did they begin to turn their attention to these markets and made first approaches, but the outcome was limited because they lacked market information.
Halal means lawful or legal - a term designating any object or action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic laws. The opposite of this word is Haram (prohibited). Mr Mohammed Omar Tran Xuan Giap - Director of Halal Certification Agency in Vietnam (HCA Vietnam), said: Muslims only eat and use items meeting Halal certification according to Shari'ah law. They buy products on two principles: Products must bear Halal certificates and be displayed in local language (Arabic). Thus, Halal is a warranty for trust and serves as a passport to Islamic markets. Halal products include food and non-food products, meat and poultry products, non-meat products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and healthcare products. Halal certification is a global scheme for responsible products or services.
Mr Ahmad Shanizam, trade counsellor at the Consulate General of Malaysia in HCM City (MATRADE), recommended that Vietnamese companies first focus on populous Islamic markets like Malaysia and Indonesia. Malaysia, where Muslims account for about 68 percent of the population, saw a Halal food market value of US$8.2 billion in 2009 and US$8.6 billion in 2010. This is a huge market. Aware of the potential of its Halal market and industry, the Government of Malaysia aims to become a global manufacturing, trading and investment-promoting centre for Halal products and services. Furthermore, Halal-certified products are widely accepted in major markets in the world like the United States, the European Union and Australia, beside Islamic markets in Asia. Mr Ahmad Shanizam added that without experience and knowledge in processing Halal foods, Vietnamese businesses should supply materials to Malaysian partners to produce Halal foods rather than do it themselves. Vietnamese companies can rest absolutely assured about cooperation, as the Malaysian government has pledged to share knowledge and experience as well as strengthen cooperation with other nations for the global development of Halal industry.
Like Malaysia, Indonesia, with more than 80 percent of the population being Muslims, is also a very large Halal food market with fairly easy conditions. Muslim consumer demand for high-quality and safe Halal food is increasing. Consumers want to be assured of the legitimacy of products with certificates granted by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI - Majelis Ulama Indonesia). In the process of bringing Halal products into use, all Indonesian industries are obliged to produce and distribute Halal-certified products or those permitted in writing by MUI. Indonesia is likely to become the world’s largest Halal centre based on three elements, namely; standardization, local input sources for Halal food, and satisfaction of Halal environment standards.
My Chau