PTIC Jakarta, led by the Philippine Commercial Attaché Jeremiah C. Reyes, discussing possible areas of cooperation with the Indonesia Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH), headed by Professor IR Sukoso
PTIC Jakarta, led by the Philippine Commercial Attaché Jeremiah C. Reyes, discussing possible areas of cooperation with the Indonesia Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH), headed by Professor IR Sukoso

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Jakarta, DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) Global MSME Academy, hosted a webinar on business opportunities for halal products and services in Indonesia under its new halal regulations on 24 June 2020.

To maintain the momentum in the global halal ecosystem and further economic cooperation with Indonesia, the DTI held the online event to gain better understanding of Indonesia’s halal regulations and engage partner government agencies in Indonesia for a possible mutual economic cooperation between the two markets. The webinar also tackled various government to government (G2G) and business to government (B2G) mechanisms as options for international cooperation.

The webinar’s speaker, Head of the Indonesian Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH) Professor IR Sukoso, discussed the export and import regulations of Indonesia under the Law No. 33 of 2014 and stressed that the Indonesian government welcomes the opportunity to explore areas of cooperation with the Philippines in the promotion of halal-certified products and services.

DTI Undersecretary for the Trade Promotion Group, Mr. Adulgani Macatoman opened the event and affirmed that Indonesia remains an important trade partner of the Philippines, with a long history of cooperation in various sectors. “Although we have significant value of trade on food with Indonesia, we want to maximize it even more by exploring opportunities in Halal. Indonesia is home to more than 200 million people and the first requirement of the consumers is Halal especially for food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products,” he added.

DTI EMB Director Senen Perlada during his presentation stressed that the G2G mechanism is the most effective way. “The most straightforward way to solve halal certification issues is to have a government to government agreement. We really need to capacitate our certifying bodies, so that they are in line with the bilateral agreements with the countries we are dealing with,” he explained.

Philippine Commercial Attaché Jeremiah C. Reyes and BPJPH Head, Professor IR Sukoso
Philippine Commercial Attaché Jeremiah C. Reyes and BPJPH Head, Professor IR Sukoso

Jakarta-based Philippine Commercial Attachè Jeremiah Reyes also echoed the need to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Indonesia. “We have been in talks with Prof. Sukoso a few times regarding the initial draft that is now submitted for review to the Philippine Halal Export Board. Consultations with stakeholders are ongoing, particularly with the private sector because at the end of the day, we don’t want the process to be burdensome to any of us, especially to the private sector,” he said.

Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim country with more than 260 million consumers and where 87.2 percent of its total population practice the Islamic faith. In October 2019, the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs) issued the Regulation on the Implementation of Halal Product Assurance (the regulation), two days before the Halal Law (Law 33/2014) came into effect on 17 October 2019. With 244 articles, this massive ministerial regulation serves as the technical legal basis of halal product assurance comprising of wide range of regulations including halal application procedures, examination agency registration, labelling, administrative sanctions, renewal mechanisms, international cooperation, among others.  Prior to this, under Indonesia’s Law 33/2014 passed in October 2014, halal certification was on a voluntary basis.

Since 2018, the Philippine government, through the DTI and PTIC Jakarta, has been actively pursuing an MOU and a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with the Indonesian government. The MRA was also tacked during the Seventh Meeting of the Philippines-Indonesia Joint Working Group (JWG) for the implementation of the MOU on trade, investments, handicrafts and shipping of the two economies on August 25 and 26, 2019.

An MRA between Philippines and Indonesia means that each government’s halal accreditation body would recognize each other’s compliance with the MRA requirements and eliminate the need for repeated conformity assessment activities. This will result in facilitating trade between the countries due to the mutual acceptance of the conformity assessment results and reduce discriminatory treatment between imported and domestic products that require halal certificates.

This webinar and the continuing negotiations on the MOU and MRA on halal certification are part of the DTI’s strong push to promote halal-certified products and services in global markets, in support of the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Program enshrined in R.A. 10817.

RA 10817, otherwise known as the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, 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.♦

Date of Release: 2 July 2020