The panel discussion “Vision for Bosnia and Herzegovina & Saudi Arabia Halal Market Development” held on the second day of the International Halal Industry Fair – Sarajevo Halal Fair (SHF) 2019 brought together businessmen from B&H and Saudi Arabia to discuss the possibilities of enhancing cooperation between two countries in the halal area, especially in halal tourism and halal food production segments.

Aida Terzić, director of Relax Tours and Pino Nature Hotel, spoke about the importance of halal certification of the hotel.

“B&H is a friendly country for Muslims and it is important that we promote it more as such. Data indicate an increase in the number of tourists and guests in BiH who require halal-certified hotels and are willing to pay more for the service,” said Terzić.

Saleem Alsharary of Al Mohandis Trading & Contracting Group emphasized that B&H’s rich history, sense of security, friendly and friendly people are the most important resource in attracting large numbers of tourists.

“However there should be more efforts invested to promote Bosnia and Herzegovina as a halal friendly destination. Saudi Arabia is working to minimize visa restrictions for this country,” Alsharary noted.

Kosai Alabdulkarim, Manager of the State Saudi Agency for the Implementation of Partner Projects for the Development of Industrial Zones emphasized that Saudi Arabia is now a hub for halal producers, which is rapidly changing in the direction of technological capabilities.

Yousef M. Alsufiani, owner of Altarkeys trading, emphasized that the potential of cooperation between the two countries has been so far used to a minimum.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina has products that can be very attractive in the Saudi Arabian market, such as organic products, which are not genetically modified and do not contain a high proportion of sugar,” Alsufiani said.

Benjamin Vukotić, director of Bosnaplod Brčko, spoke about the positive experiences in the Saudi Arabian market.

“The Bosnian-owned Halal certificate was very useful in breaking into the world’s largest halal market,” Vukotić said.

Indira Omeragić, director of MI99 from Gradačac emphasized that the company exports to Saudi Arabia and that B&H companies should be encouraged more to enter this market.

During the panel on the Info Halal Days of the Association of Halal Industry at the FBiH Chamber of Commerce dedicated to the topic of “Free Trade Agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Turkey, Opportunities, Chances and Challenges”, participants discussed the strengthening of economic relations and improvement of the overall bilateral cooperation between BiH and Turkey. It was pointed out that the Treaty brings numerous opportunities to the domestic economy, but it was emphasized that companies themselves need to be included in order to reach its full potential.

“The contract represents a great development opportunity for the B&H economy, and domestic companies are well on their way to use its opportunities. Having halal certificates can help them further in the Turkish market,” said Mirsad Jašarspahić, President of the FBiH Chamber of Commerce.

Midhat Salić, Assistant Minister for International Trade Relations at the B&H Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, emphasing that the new Treaty with Turkey, which needs to be ratified in the two countries’ parliaments, could contribute to the growth of trade between the two countries.

“Despite the 2018 crisis, BiH have shown how resilient and competitive they are in the Turkish market. The revised Agreement includes trade in services and additional liberalization of BiH exports for types of meat for which full customs duties have been retained under the current Treaty, and new opportunities should be exploited,” said Salić.

The BiH Bimal Company has benefited immensely from the current Treaty and its benefits.

“In a market with more than 80 million consumers in Turkey, Bimal has reached its full potential, and by maintaining rules of origin and quality, it has managed to sustain itself. Bimal is also recognized in this market as part of the halal industry, which contributes to our success,” said Ševal Suljkanović, Bimal’s Executive Director for Economic Affairs.

Vedad Halilović, President of the Halal Industry Association, spoke about the importance of halal certification and compliance with rules of origin and quality.

“B&H has a special position in the Turkish market, which should be protected from any breaches. The revised Agreement opens up new possibilities, and quality is the only key that opens all doors,” said Halilović.

Damir Alihodžić, Director of the B&H Halal Certification Agency, emphasized the importance of halal certification in this large world market.

“The Agency’s mission is to provide a reliable halal certification system, and we have fulfilled our task and become one of the five leading halal certification agencies in the world,” said Alihodžić.

Visitors to SHF 2019 still had the opportunity to enjoy Malaysian, Indonesian and Bosnian delicacies today.

SHF 2019 is held at the Skenderija Center in Sarajevo from September 26 to 28, 2019, and the organizers of the Fair are Bosna Bank International, Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) and IsDB Group Business Forum THIQAH, with the support of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Halal Quality Certification Agency of the B&H, and the Halal Industry Association operating within the FBiH Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This year’s Event is held under the patronage of Šefik Džaferović, Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Meetings of regional halal product manufacturers and halal service providers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Macedonia and Albania with major buyers and distributors from Turkey, Malaysia, Austria, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Bahrain, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, China, USA, Norway and other countries, will be enabled during the three days of SHF 2019.