What is Halal International Trade? and Why it is Important?

Due to the arising needs and preferences of Muslims for halal products and services, a new pattern of trade between countries is noticed because of the halal market. Halal International Trade is showing a tremendous growth all over the globe and statistics shows a remarkable increase in the growth of the global halal market which is expected to result in increasing trading rates between countries. Successful trade provides the opportunity for consumers to be exposed to new markets and to enjoy the variety of products and services available and provides new opportunities to manufacturers and exporters to enter the halal sector and improve their trade.

Barriers to Halal International Trade

The halal sector faces many challenges starting from the varying interpretations of religious ruling to the different halal standards and regulations. It is known that each country has its own regulations, standards, and practices in halal field, in addition to having its own testing labs, certification bodies, and inspection bodies who are involved in halal conformity assessment activities, this implies the existence of a large range of conformity assessment bodies, the use of different standards and the application of different regulations. All these impose considerable obstacles in front of the international trade between countries and dampens their halal market growth.

Obstacles in Halal International Trade

A demand for halal products and services is driven by a general desire for sharia compliance among a growing Muslim population, yet this faces challenges with regard to trading halal products and services. One effective way to overcome the barriers to halal trade between countries is through establishing unified halal criteria, harmonizing halal conformity assessment practices and establishing a mutual recognition between countries. Accreditation plays a vital role in achieving this purpose and facilitating the halal trade.

Halal Accreditation and Halal Trade

Accreditation is defined as “a third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks- ISO/IEC 17000-5.6”, it is used as a tool to determine the technical competence, reliability and integrity of conformity assessment bodies who evaluate conformity and compliance with regulations and standards through testing, calibration, verification, inspection and certification. Accreditation provides confidence and trust on conformity assessment results provided by accredited conformity assessment bodies and provides a tool for countries to mutually accept each other results. When accreditation used effectively, it will provide evidence on conformity of products and services with the requirements of countries regulations and standards.

One aim of the International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) is to establish a multi-lateral recognition between accreditation bodies working in the halal field through using unified criteria for halal accreditation bodies and conformity assessment bodies.

Once IHAF members become signatories to this arrangement, this means they are accepting each other’s accreditation and hence accepting conformity assessment results produced by conformity assessment bodies accredited by any of IHAF signatory accreditation bodies.

By this products and services holding conformity certificates or reports issued by accredited bodies will be accepted across borders and reduces or even eliminates the need for them to undergo additional tests, certifications, inspections or verification in each country into which they are exported. This will lead at the end to facilitating international trade and contributes to economic growth of countries in addition to providing opportunities for halal products to access new halal markets all over the world.

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