Talks focus on Halal food trade framework in ASEAN

|     Azlan Othman     |

OFFICIALS from the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance (AFBA) and the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Brunei Darussalam (NCCIBD) on Monday met representatives from the Halal Food Control Division and Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB), Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) to discuss the mutual recognition framework for the food industry in ASEAN.

During the meeting, officials from the MoRA spoke about the ongoing mutual recognition arrangement among the Religious Council of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (MABIMS) member countries.

Representatives from AFBA and NCCIBD, meanwhile, shared the progress made by ASEAN in the area, highlighting that guidelines have been developed to form the framework for mutual recognition to facilitate the trade of Halal goods in the region.

AFBA and NCCIBD officials also held a meeting with representatives from the Food Safety and Quality Control (FSQC) Division, Ministry of Health to talk about AFBA’s work in addressing trade barriers, specifically on nutrition labelling and product registration.

They shared that with regard to nutrition labelling, ASEAN has started looking into possible areas for harmonisation of procedures.

On product registration, FSQC officials pointed out the need to implement proper controls of imported foods, as Brunei imports a high volume of goods from other countries.

They said that to facilitate the importation process, product registration needs to be made fully online and importers need to be afforded flexibility with regard to the requirements for the submission of documents.

NCCIBD Deputy President Malcolm Lim, NCCIBD Deputy Secretary-General Haji Abdul Halim bin Haji Saim, Brunei Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DPPMB) Secretary-General Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Sirat, as well as representatives from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and AFBA were present at both meetings.

AFBA and NCCIBD members at the Food Safety and Quality Control Division. – PHOTOS: AZLAN OTHMAN
AFBA and NCCIBD members at the Halal Food Control Division