News From : DagangHalal.com (21 Jul 2009)
Outline of the “Halal Food Standard” was set out in Turkey. This study carried out under the supervision of DPT will be presented to the Organization of the Islamic Conference and will regulate a trade of 500 billion dollars.
Outline of the “Halal Food Standard” was set out. In the working group headed by the secretariat of State Planning Organization (DPT) in Turkey, many other state organizations participate as well. The draft sketched by a committee coordinated by the Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade and contributed by Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) and Turkish Accreditation Institute was discussed in a meeting in Ankara last April. The standard was corrected in consideration of the remarks of the member countries and will be finalized in the meeting to be held in Istanbul in next October. Ongoing studies are carried out by the “Standards Preparation Committee” consisting of 52 experts representing the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference.
Big piece of cake
Although “Halal Food Standard” sounds like a religious issue, in fact, it has an important economic dimension. Moreover, Turkey’s presence in setting out these standards as a “moderate” country has a specific importance. It’s said that the volume of the food trading with the “Halal food zone” amounts to 600 billion US dollars. When other consumer goods are added on the top of this, it makes a market of 2 trillion US dollars.
Regulation of the market is necessary
Turkey’s determinant position in standardizing the sales to this market is something to be preferred. In the news Anadolu Ajansı pointed out that this “joint document” of standards aims at elimination of different interpretations and practices in different countries. This is far more important than lifting the barriers in international trade. It’s said that when countries have different interpretations and when they adhere to different rules showing Islam as the reason, this can put great barriers in front of the trade. The standards to be set forth will mean liberalization of international trade to a great extent.
In the news of Anadolu Ajansı, it’s pointed out that some Islamic countries can practice quite different rules or can set barriers showing Islam as the reason, real reason being to dominate the trade or to protect the internal market.
Then, Turkey’s leadership in these studies becomes important in terms of “preventing reflection of radical practices on the standards.” The countries like Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, UAE and Kuwait have made effective discussion to include their own practices into the standards and their objections were especially focusing on Halal foodstuffs and butchery practices.
How standard is it?
Although the text is called a “standard”, it’s not a standard in its real meaning at all, since it’s not issued by an institution authorized to issue an internationally adopted standard. However, the drafted text is important in terms of setting the common rules between Islamic countries, adopting a uniform practice and facilitating the trade between these countries. Setting up these standards is also important for replacing local rules that vary between countries with uniform rules and practice.
When there’s a breach in Halal food
As Halal food standard doesn’t have an official effectiveness, nobody knows how it will be practiced. No one knows how the institutions which have to be approved by an accreditation authority will issue the certificate. This in return may cause serious problems. If international accreditation practice is put into effect, the companies will have to pay thousands of dollars for the certificate used in the trade of Halal foods which now they simply receive from the muftis at a very low cost.
According to AA, the experts are anxious that “Halal food certificate” will lead to a serious offense of fair competition. It is stated that in case of unfair competition the case can be taken to the World Trade Organization.
What does DPT do?
DPT was founded in 1960 to strengthen the economic development of Turkey, but now we surprised to see it as an institution that tries to set up “Halal Food Standards.” Under normal conditions, DTP is an institution that makes the development plans and determines economic priorities and gives advisory services to the Prime Ministry; however, it’s interesting to see what has happened to this institution under AKP government.