Abu Dhabi, UAE: The UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) hosted a halal certification webinar in cooperation with the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BeICCI). The event explored the role of the halal certification system in increasing the supply of food products to Islamic markets, product conformity assessment, as well as facilitating the movement of goods between countries.
Presented by specialists from MoIAT as part of its cooperation agreements with BeICCI, the webinar drew the participation of stakeholders from the halal and export sectors in Belarus. The event took place under the theme ‘Opportunities and Requirements for Halal Products Supply to the UAE’.
In his speech, His Excellency Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of MoIAT, welcomed the Belarusian delegation, headed by His Excellency Alexey Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food. Other members included His Excellency Vladimir Ulakhovich, Chairman of BeICCI, and His Excellency Abu-Bekir Shabanovich, Mufti of the Muslim Religious Association in the Republic of Belarus.
His Excellency Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi said: “The event represents another step towards strengthening the economic ties between our two countries. The webinar builds on earlier cooperation between the UAE and Belarus. In 2018, Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) and the Emirates National Accreditation System (ENAS) signed three memorandums of understanding with the Belarusian State Centre for Accreditation (BSCA) on technical collaboration related to halal accreditation, as well as on the accreditation system of relevant authorities and the exchange of specialist expertise.”
HE presented a brief outline of the Ministry’s strategy that aims to drive the development of the UAE’s industrial sector in preparation for the UAE Centennial 2071. Its objectives include attracting investment to the UAE’s thriving industrial sector, enhancing its global competitiveness, creating an innovative research and development ecosystem, and consolidating the country’s status as a global leader in future industries. The strategy is based on several pillars – accelerating the adoption of advanced technologies, developing standardization and metrology, boosting in-country value, developing future industries and supporting industrial sectors in any shape or form.
Food Security as a Priority
The Undersecretary added: “Despite the economic headwinds and industry-wide disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the global food and beverage industry remains on the rise and among the top priorities of countries across the globe, including the UAE.”
He also pointed out that the food and beverage industry is one of MoIAT’s priority sectors for the next phase of its strategy in line with its focus on food security amidst expectations that total consumer spending in the halal food sector will reach approximately US$1.4 trillion by 2024.
His Excellency Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi noted that the UAE ranks third in the Global Islamic Economy Indicator, with the country’s halal food and beverage market projected to be valued at AED20 billion next year, according to the State of Global Islamic Economy Report.
UAE’s Halal Certification System
For his part, His Excellency Alexey Bogdanov said that the global recognition of the UAE’s halal certification system and its role in bridging the gaps in legal requirements for halal certificates between countries served as the main motivation for the cooperation.
He emphasized the growth witnessed by the halal sector in Belarus, noting that during the past five years, many companies in the country have obtained halal certification, which indicates their interest in benefiting from the abundant opportunities offered by the halal market.
His Excellency Alexey Bogdanov also discussed the annual growth of halal exports from Belarus, with Muslim countries of the former Soviet Union, the GCC region, Asia and Africa among the main markets.
Eng Yousef Al Marzouqi, Head of the Regulations Section at the Technical Legislation Department at MoIAT, delivered a presentation on the importance of the UAE’s halal certification system. Meanwhile, Mohamed Saber from the National Accreditation Department at MoIAT provided an overview of the role of accreditation in product conformity assessment.
About the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology:
The UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, established in July 2020, is mandated with strengthening the UAE’s industrial sector, specifically by drawing on the advanced technology and tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Ministry has three overarching goals: Strengthening the UAE’s industrial base, ensuring in country value, and raising the competitiveness of local industries. By enhancing the contribution of advanced technology, the Ministry will support the country’s sustainable economic growth, and ensure GDP contribution from the industry sector.
The Ministry will draft policies, laws and programmes to create a world-class industrial development framework for the nation that will help attract foreign direct investment, boost In-Country Value creation, support national entrepreneurship, drive job creation, and boost exports of ‘Made in UAE’ products.