Thursday, 11 January 2018

IHAF gains more members

Source: IHAF. The second Board of Directors meeting was held in Vancouver, Canada.
Source: IHAF. The second Board of Directors meeting was held in Vancouver, Canada, and attended by Emmanuelle Riva, Vice Chairman of IHAF, and Director at the Italian National Accreditation Body (ACCREDIA); Rob Miller, GM, American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA); Hany El Desouki, Executive Director at Egyptian Accreditation Council (EGAC); Abdulla Al Maeeni, Director General at Emirates National Accreditation System (ENAS); Ahmed Almutairi, Director General at GCC Accreditation Center (GAC); Ismat Gul Khattak, Director General, Pakistan National Accreditation Council; Rula Madanat, Director at Jordanian Accreditation System; Engineer Saud Al Askar, Deputy Governor for conformity at EGAC; Sutthinee Intarakamhaeng, Quality Manager at Thailand’s National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (NSC) and Dr Abhichartbut Rodyoung, Office of Standards Accreditation at NSC. Peter Unger, previous chair of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC); Sylvana Ricciarini, President at International Quality Excellence in Infrastructure Systems (IQEIS) and Atta Subhan, Accreditation Manager at GCC Standardization Organisation; also attended the board meeting.

The UAE-based International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF), the world’s first halal accreditation network, has taken a major leap toward spreading its standardised halal accreditation agenda worldwide with the approval of accreditation agencies from the Philippines, and Kazakhstan as members. Other member countries under IHAF in the Asia Pacific and Middle East include the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Australia, New Zealand, India, Thailand, Pakistan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Yemen, and the rest of GCC countries. 

Driven by its mission of creating a strong global halal market and facilitating international trade, IHAF is focused on harmonising halal standards in various countries, easing the flow of halal products between countries and facilitating international halal food trade, with a view to tapping into the potential of the international halal food market and go beyond its projected growth of US$1.7 trillion by 2021.

IHAF facilitates mutual recognition between member accreditation bodies to enhance international trade in the field of halal and assures governments and regulatory bodies that halal products under the IHAF’s umbrella need no further testing, certification or verification. By streamlining the accreditation, certification and monitoring processes, IHAF also facilitates cost-effective accreditation; thereby producing cheaper halal goods and promotes accessibility to global markets for halal-related firms.

Mohammed Saleh Badri, Secretary General of the IHAF, said: “IHAF is ceaselessly working toward increasing the network of countries adopting unified halal accreditation standards, which is critical to ensure sustained growth and enhancing the credibility of halal sector, given its rising popularity worldwide. With the approval of four new member associations, the number of IHAF members has now increased to 27 accreditation bodies representing 28 countries and we are expecting the number of members to double within two years.

“The benefits of a credible accreditation and keenness to tap into the rapidly expanding halal market, are leading to a growing interest from countries toward adopting a unified halal accreditation, as is visible from the increase in the number of IHAF members. Countries following unified accreditation standards are at a clear advantage in global market, in terms f credibility, costs and stand stronger when it comes to expanding their global footprint.”

Memberships were approved for the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) as a full member, while affiliate membership was granted to the National Centre of Accreditation (NCA) from the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Accreditation Affairs Section (KAAS) Public Authority for Industry from Kuwait.

Aysha Abdullah Saleh from the Emirates National Accreditation System (ENAS) was additionally appointed as the Chair for Media and Marketing Steering Committee.

Source: IHAF. IHAF inks a membership agreement with the Philippines, signifying the country’s interest to strengthen its halal industry.
Source: IHAF. IHAF inks a membership agreement with the Philippines, signifying the country’s interest to strengthen its halal industry. The signing ceremony took place during the National Exporters’ Week in the Philippines.
In December, IHAF inked a separate membership agreement with the Philippines, signifying the country’s interest to strengthen its halal industry. 

This complements the Philippines’ initiatives to develop its halal infrastructure system, which included the recent formation of a halal board. Peaking local demand and rosy business prospects for the country ultimately call for a solid halal strategy.

Badri said: “IHAF welcomes the Philippines into our extensive global network. This agreement is an important initial step for the country that, apart from being home to a good number of Muslims, is also looking to capture a share in the flourishing industry of halal.”

IHAF, which has convened 28 countries in its network in a year, expects that this agreement will allow for the Philippines to tap into the lucrative halal industry, which is projected to amount to US$3.8 trillion by 2022.

Senen Perlada, Director of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), said: “The halal consumer segment is one of the largest, if not the largest segment in the world. We are looking at halal as a way of mainstreaming into the Islamic market. The strong bilateral ties of UAE and the Philippines serves as an excellent springboard for an international partnership in the halal industry.”

James Empeño, Director of Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) who has signed the agreement on behalf of the Philippines, said: “This agreement signing is part of the continuous effort of the government to ramp up the development of the Philippine halal industry, with a goal to make the country the halal industrial hub of the region.”

The growing network of IHAF also benefits the Philippines’ trade relations with halal-importing countries such as the UAE. Philippine exports to the UAE stands at an average annual growth of 9% from 2012 to 2016.

The agreement signing was part of DTI-EMB Halal Section’s Seminar on Opportunities on Global Halal Market Access and Innovation in the Philippines, for which IHAF’s Secretary-General was the guest of honour.

Badri discussed the current halal market and certification schemes, the technical barrier to trade, specifically in the halal trade, and how IHAF can assist Philippines products to penetrate the UAE and the international markets.

Badri highlighted the optimism in the future of the global halal market, especially as more and more countries have expressed their desire to creating a global consensus on halal accreditation practices.

“The agenda of creating a tightly knit halal community across the world has been gaining traction since IHAF has launched its mission. The response has been overwhelming, and we are expecting more countries to formalise their IHAF membership soon,” Badri said.

“IHAF is committed to forging mutual agreements among member accreditation bodies in the field of halal conformity assessment practices in order to facilitate the halal trade, and maintain and uphold consumer confidence in halal marks and certificates,”
Badri added.

“As part of our mission of strengthening the global halal industry, IHAF also provides technical support to interested accreditation bodies around the world, developing their conformity assessment infrastructure in the field of halal,” Badri concluded.