Inter-ministerial prakas on halal food certification, fees expected

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Finance ministry secretary of state Chou Kimleng (left) chairs a meeting on halal foods on January 23. CCF

The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Economy and Finance met on January 23 to prepare an inter-ministerial prakas on the management of halal products aimed at providing public services and distributing revenue to businesses.

The inter-ministerial proclamation consists of two parts, one on the provision of public services by the commerce ministry, and the other on the distribution of revenue earned from halal public services, by the finance ministry.

The meeting was chaired by finance ministry secretary of state Chou Kimleng and attended by representatives from the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and the Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF).

CCF director-general Phan Oun, who represents the commerce ministry, said preparations were made to establish a mechanism for providing public services to businesses for a fee, in accordance with guidelines set by the Commission for Examination of Halal Products in Cambodia (CEHP), chaired by commerce minister Pan Sorasak

“We will take fees from those who wish to request certification for halal products, including those which are imported. We’ve developed a mechanism that creates a clear consensus among the representative of the ministries,” he told The Post on January 25.

In 2016, the government established the CEHP to promote halal products. The CCF and a halal product specialist working group were tasked with assisting in halal affairs and monitoring service delivery, production and packaging of Cambodian halal products.

Pursuant to the government sub-decree, the commission is responsible for preparing and compiling all of the documents required to draft into laws or regulations on halal products and to follow up working progress.

The commission has the authority to inspect halal products for local markets and push for export as well as protecting the Halal in Cambodia label.

On January 24, commerce minister Pan Sorasak, who is also chairman of the National Commission for Consumer Protection (NCCP), called a meeting to review the complaints of two companies.

The two firms were among 17 others which protested the NCCP’s decision to impose fines on them for advertising their products or services without complying with the law on consumer protection.

In its November 10 decision, the NCCP said it issued the fines after reviewing the CCF report and speaking with representatives of the unidentified firms as part of its investigation.

According to the CCF director-general, all but two of the 19 companies agreed to respect the NCCP’s decision.

“Following the January 24 meeting, the NCCP has given the two companies one more week to comply with its final decision before issuing another,” he added.