By Emin Avundukluoglu
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci on Thursday highlighted opportunities for Turkey in the international halal market as he made a case for formation of a halal accreditation agency in the country.
In remarks made during his presentation to lawmakers in the parliament’s trade committee, Zeybekci said halal products covered not only food, but cosmetics, textile, finance, supply chain and insurance as well.
He added the expenditure of Muslims on halal products is estimated to be at $1.17 trillion.
"There is a halal market in the world whether we get into it or not. There will also be agencies that will define the standards on which products are halal, and will give [halal] certificate," he said.
Turkey “should lead” such an international halal market.
Last week, the government submitted a draft law to the parliament calling for a halal accreditation agency.
The agency will be the sole authority on halal product certification and accreditation in Turkey. It will also be able to establish offices abroad.
It would also accredit Turkish and foreign institutions that grant certificates of halal compliance.
The proposed agency would have a staff of 50 people under the Ministry of Economy. It would also represent Turkey in the international arena and obtain membership in both regional and international accreditation unions.
Zeybekci clarified that the law on halal accreditation agency would not define whether a product is halal.
"The common standard on which all Muslims agree have already been defined; for this reason, the halal accreditation agency will be grounded on these standards."
Halal accreditation agencies enforce halal standards according to Islam in Muslim countries and territories. They also aim to protect the growing number of halal consumers and facilitate international trade.
Global trade in halal products and services is valued around $3.9 trillion.