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KARACHI: Despite being a Muslim country, Pakistan's export share in the trillion dollars global Halal market is less than 1 percent, it was revealed at a seminar Tuesday.

"The potential of global Halal market has been projected to $ 3.2 trillion by fiscal year 2024," said an official of Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), citing the State of the global Islamic Economy Report 2019-20. He was giving a detailed presentation at a seminar titled 'Halal accreditation - a gateway to international trade' held at Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

Director General (DG) PNAC Ismat Gull Khattak came all the way from Islamabad to grace the seminar. KCCI President M. Shariq Vohra, Vice President Shamsul Islam Khan, besides representatives of PSQCA, PCSIR, traders etc were present on this occasion.

Not even a single Muslim country falls in the list of top 5 global exporters of the Halal products, whereas the major importers include Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, UAE, Indonesia, and Egypt, all Muslim countries, the official said, referring to the same report. He said Brazil, Australia and India are the top exporting countries of Halal products. Except Turkey, no Muslim country state including Pakistan has been able to tap the potential.

He said PNAC was established in 1998 under the administrative control of Ministry of Science and Technology. It has established, implemented and maintained quality management system based on ISO/IEC 17011.

It was the first accreditation body in the world that has launched Halal accreditation scheme in 2012, he claimed. While highlighting the Council's contributions, he said so far it has accredited 171 testing and calibration CABs, 7 certification bodies, 11 inspection bodies, 10 medical labs, 7 Halal CBs, 4 proficiency testing providers, one product certification and one personnel certification.

The DG PNAC said without standardization, the country will never be able to enhance its export market share. PNAC accreditation enhances the quality level of a product, enabling it to reach anywhere in the world.

Khattak said she has been doing her level best to facilitate the traders and exporters. To a query she said "PNAC is not a business body. Its accreditation charges are nominal...even lowest in the region."

Regarding the Halal food authority (HFA) she said it has been established, but not functional, yet. Hirings are yet to be made in this regard. The fresh employees, after recruitments, will need to get technical trainings. "So, It may take at least one year [for the HFA] to be fully functional," She said.

Without highlighting the name, she said a company which had been granted accreditation, was delisted as its owner was a non-Muslim. Interestingly, later on, the same company got certification from Saudi Arabia, and now it is successfully doing its business, she added. She was of the view that related provisions in this connection are needed to be redefined in Pakistan, or else the country may not be able to benefit from the existing potential.

President KCCI said the seminar is aimed at providing awareness to the traders regarding the importance of the certification for the exports of Halal products. He urged PNAC to ensure accreditation cost effective so that maximum number of traders and industrialists can benefit from the certification. Despite having billions of rupee export potential, he said the country has been unable to enhance its share in the global market.

A PSQCA official Yasmeen who was representing technical committee on standardization also gave a presentation, however, the president KCCI objected her, declaring presentation content as 'substandard'. According to him, the content has not been approved by PSQCA yet, hence it should not be presented at least at a trade forum like KCCI.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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