29 December 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

THE government has urged micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of the huge under-tapped opportunities in the multitrillion-dollar global halal market.

“When you say growing the export, we need to diversify because a recent study showed the spread of our exports is very limited. On the broader term, I must say that first in diversifying export, we need to look into new sectors like halal products,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said. Lopez cited Singapore, which is making halal as part of its domestic mainstreaming.

“They are also empowering their manufacturers to have halal-certified products, making them ready for the export market. That is what we have to do. We have to start locally also increasing awareness on the market and the production of halal-certified products to prepare us to export more halal products,” he noted.

The trade chief said that once certified, MSMEs can introduce more halal products and services to the market.

“When you say halal, you can also look at not only products [but] even services, tourism, restaurants; those of you in those businesses, even its for the local economy. Especially if its tourism-related, they are like dollar-revenue generators, as well,” he added.  Lopez said the halal market, with an estimated value of $3.2 trillion, remains undertapped.

“Let’s increase the marketability of halal products. It is not related to a religion. To us really, it’s a way of life. Halal connotes purity, cleanliness, a high-quality process and products—positive attributes that will really popularize the use of halal. That’s on the broad sense of diversifying,” he added.

In terms of manufactured goods, Lopez identified the country’s top 10 exports, which are electronics, machinery and transport equipment, metal components, ignition wiring set, aircraft and ships or ship-related parts, fresh bananas, cathodes and sections of cathodes, other mineral products, electronics and gold.  “Heavily, they are concentrated in these products. What we want is really to diversify. It is said, scale up, scale up the other sectors and the other products,” he said.