Why the Business of HALAL is the Business of the ASEAN

For years, the delineation between communities drawn by religious precepts allowed for economic growth in seclusion. As the world adopts a more inclusive mindset, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN begins to find ways to unite its regions to emerge as a competitive player in the global market.

With an economic merging slated for 2015, the ASEAN’s AEC or ASEAN Economic Community looks to community gateways for potential economic breakthroughs. Beneath the great cultural divide between Muslim and non-Muslim groups lies an opportunity left untapped. The potential comes in the form of HALAL.

“HALAL is about integrity and trust in the products that we consume,” shares Director Aleem Siddiqui M. Guiapal, the Bureau Director of the Muslim Economic Affairs of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. Long riddled with the stigma of religious exclusion and a vast array of taboos within and beyond the country, HALAL is in reality, entrenched in the structures of everyday life. More than just the concept of animal killing rituals and practices concerning meat preparation, HALAL’s implications, while rooted in religion, transcend the Muslim creed.

With a potential to gain worldwide recognition and subsequent patronage, the concept of HALAL consumption is valued for being an alternative benchmark for safety, hygiene and quality assurance. The key to conquering HALAL is by going past the issues and seeing it as both a personal and communal structure.

HALAL Nation: The Key to Progress

HALAL as a global mindset encourages inclusion, which not only unites the ASEAN nations but also the ASEAN industries in food, tourism and services, and health and beauty. These opportunities will then spill over to tourism, given that tourism is measured through both visits and investments. Tourism is a market determined on what will create permanence.

It is in line with this belief that the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the Alliance for HALAL Integrity in the Philippines (AHIP) puts Mindanao at the forefront of progress as the seat of one of the fastest growing communities in the world, the Muslims, and the home of HALAL.

Some industry partners uniting for the Philippine HALAL Forum, especially now with its investment component, are DV Asia, Chinabank Savings, the British Embassy, and the Malaysian Trade under the Malaysian Embassy, among others. All enterprises are united in supporting the powerful insight: “The Business of ASEAN is the Business of HALAL.”

“In terms of business opportunities, the key to unlocking Mindanao, home of majority of our Muslim brethren, is through HALAL,” shares Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao, Commissioner and Secretary of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. “By tapping a market that has over 60% of its population based in the ASEAN region, economic merging will not only push through but prove formidable as a highly competitive single market.”

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