Halal exports promise fresh growth for LATAM, say experts

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Waldemarus
© Getty Images / Waldemarus
Latin American manufacturers can thrive in the fast-expanding global halal market, especially by targeting the booming UAE region, say industry experts.

Speaking at the Global Business Forum (GBF) Latin America – held February 27-28 in Dubai – business and trade association leaders collectively agreed halal trade presented fresh growth opportunities for LATAM manufacturers.

Valued at US$5.73 trillion in 2016, the global halal market was forecast to grow at a CAGR of 10.5% between 2017 and 2024, according to Report Buyer’s report Halal Market Size, Forecast and Trend Analysis 2014 to 2014.

The Middle East halal market alone would hit US$6.53 trillion by 2024, the forecast suggested.

Unified standards, easier trade

Mohammed Badri, secretary general of the International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF), told attendees at GBF Latin America the best days were yet to come for halal, but accreditation would be critical to success.

HE Mohammed Badri, Secretary General of the International Halal Accreditation Forum, UAE
H.E. Mohammed Badri, Secretary General of the International Halal Accreditation Forum, UAE

Speaking on the second day, he said the unification of standards would be particularly important for Latin American players wanting to enter the halal market or increase presence in the sector.

Badri said IHAF was especially interested in working with Brazil, Argentina and Colombia to make trade of halal products easier but had also kick-started collaborative discussions with a number of other LATAM markets.

According to the IHAF,​ more than 100 different halal marks were currently used across the globe making reliability difficult to assess and creating trade barriers due to the absence of bi- or multi-lateral agreements on these marks.

The IHAF said the solution was one globally accepted mark along with a common platform where governments could discuss and form mutual agreements on halal standards, policies and regulation.

Dubai – the halal gateway?

Ahmed Sulayem, executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), said Latin American companies should consider Dubai the gateway into a booming UAE halal market.

Dubai’s halal meat trade alone would be worth more than US$6 trillion by 2018, according to the DMCC.

“Dubai is superbly positioned to serve as the capital of the Middle East’s halal meat trade,”​ Sulayem told GBF Latin America attendees. “Latin American companies, especially in the food business, have already started supplying the halal market, and are now increasingly looking to Dubai to manage their business in the region.”

The DMCC, he said, wanted to double Latin America’s share of trade with Dubai to 6% within the next three years and would work hard to facilitate trade, connect the markets and make doing business easier.

Whilst trade with the UAE offered opportunity for LATAM manufacturers, Sulayem said it also increased food security for the Persian Gulf region where 90% of food requirements were currently imported.

It was not cost-effective, he said, to produce foods (halal included) in the region, given water management challenges and the need to increase food security but Latin America was “well-positioned”​ to produce and export.