Big push for halal products in Gulf states

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THE Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will be developing more halal food products for export to markets like the Middle East.

Trade and Investments Promotion Group (TIPG) Assistant Secretary Abdulgani Macatoman told BusinessWorld that the country’s top halal export is processed tropical fruits to markets like Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei — which along with the Philippines are members of the East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

Some exports also find their way to the Middle East.

The DTI is expecting halal exports of P1 billion this year, compared with P800 million in 2017.

“[Right now], we are developing pili nuts, desiccated coconut [for export] in the Gulf countries, the oil-rich countries in the Middle East. Those are who were targeting,” he added.

“[We’ll also do] halal textiles and fashion, like hijabs and leather goods.”

The DTI, which leads the Philippine Halal Board, has also set up the 100-hectare Asian Halal Center in Zamboanga City to further promote halal certification and trade.

Within BIMP-EAGA, the Philippine halal market has room to grow, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.

“[Our halal market] is not that small and it’s not that big either but we’re developing it,” Mr. Macatoman said. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato