The Sri Lankan trade delegation with Dr Winai Dahlan and team from the Halal Science Center, Chulalongkorn University
The Government of Thailand hosted a Sri Lankan trade delegation from August 16th to 19th, 2023, with a primary objective of fostering constructive discussions on bilateral trade involving Halal certified products. The aim of this momentous visit was to fortify export US dollar revenue and enhance the burgeoning ties between Thailand and Sri Lanka.
The delegation, comprised of nine distinguished members, represented by key corporate entities which included, the Royal Thai Embassy, The Halal Accreditation Council, John Keells Holdings, Pyramid Wilmar, Transtrade International, Benjarong, and Pulses Splitting & Processing Industry, all of whom brought their expertise and enthusiasm to the table.
The meetings and engagements that transpired during this delegation visit have paved the way for an exciting new phase of economic collaboration between Thailand and Sri Lanka. Indications suggest that a formal ratification of a free trade agreement (FTA) between these two nations will take place in early 2024, further solidifying their economic partnership.
The Government of Thailand has harnessed its Halal industry to boost export revenue and establish itself as a global heavyweight in the Halal market. Notably, Halal food exports from the country experienced a remarkable surge from $247 million in 2003 to an astonishing estimated figure of $6.1 billion in the year 2021/22, underscoring its pivotal role in driving this phenomenal growth.
Moreover, Thailand has confidently secured its position as the world's 15th largest exporter of Halal products, further strengthened by the certification of over 4,000 F&B manufacturing facilities by The Central Islamic Council of Thailand (CICOT), which encompasses an impressive array of 166,000 products.
Highlighting its unwavering commitment to nurturing the Halal food industry, the Thai government took the pioneering step of establishing the Thai Halal Science Centre within the esteemed Chulalongkorn University. Recognized as the "World's First" institution of its kind, it seamlessly combines theology, science, and technology to elevate the global Halal sector through innovation and cutting-edge research in creating Halal food and ingredients.
During the delegation's visit, they engaged in extensive trade-related discussions with representatives from prominent institutions such as The Thai–Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce, The Mexican–Thai Chamber, and the Pakistan–Thai Chamber. Additionally, the delegation actively explored potential business opportunities with CPF Food & Beverage Company Limited and KCG Corporation Public Company Limited, both renowned manufacturers of Halal-certified products.
The mission of the Halal Accreditation Council (HAC) resonates harmoniously with the objective of enabling exporters to actively participate in the highly competitive global Halal market. In Sri Lanka, the Halal Accreditation Council has left an indelible mark by certifying over 240 manufacturing facilities, producing a staggering 8,000 Halal-certified products. These products contributed significantly to an estimated USD 1.7 billion in exports in 2022, constituting 60% of total food and beverage exports and 13% of the country's overall exports. With the global Halal market valued at an impressive US Dollars 2 trillion, HAC remains steadfast in its efforts to empower exporters to reach their full potential, in perfect alignment with Sri Lanka's growth strategy.
The Sri Lankan trade delegation with members from the Thai – Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce
Industrial visit by the delegation
From left to Right: Mr. Ruzny Nisfer, Officer, Royal Thai Embassy, Mrs. Ranella Jayasuriya, Assistance Vice President, John Keells Holdings, Mr. Lionel Fernando, Managing Director, Benjarong Pvt Ltd, Mr. Priyantha Kolonnage, General Manager, Pyramid Wilmar (Pvt) Ltd , Mr. Peerapat Tongrod, First Secretary, Royal Thai Embassy, Mr. Aakif A Wahab, CEO – Director, Halal Accreditation Council, Mr. Somsak Medan, Vice Secretary General of The Islamic Council of Thailand, Mr. Rizan Nazeer, Managing Director, Transtrade International, Dr. A.C. Mahmud, Managing Director, Pulses Spilitting & Processing Industry (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Nafas Nazeer, Head of Quality Assurance, Halal Accreditation Council, Mr, Khathawut Lohmud, Head of International Affairs and PR, The Islamic Council of Thailand