Jakarta. The European Union wants to boost its agri-food exports to Indonesia, as the bloc continues to promote the safety and sustainability of its agricultural food and beverage products.
Last August, the EU launched the agri-food promotion campaign “Colours by Europe. Tastes of Excellence" in Indonesia. Under this campaign, the EU promises the Indonesian market that its agri-food products are safe, high-quality, authentic, and sustainable.
“The EU across its 27 member states has a very thorough, tough quality control and inspection system that is harmonized across our internal market,” Vincent Piket, the EU ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, said at a Colours by Europe event in Jakarta earlier this week.
“That guarantees the products meet the highest level of food safety inside our territory, but also abroad because a lot of the standards are identical ... that is a wonderful asset for our trading partners to rely on,” Piket said.
EU intends to shift towards a healthier and more sustainable food system under its Farm to Fork strategy. This agri-food blueprint includes a target of reducing 50 percent of pesticides by 2030, among others. The EU also seeks to halve overall sales of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture by the same year.
“In other words, what we produce will be safer for the environment, but also the global customers,” Piket said.
The European Commission reported that the EU27’s agri-food export to Indonesia was worth 957 million euros (about $1 billion) in 2021. Milk powders and whey accounted for 279 million euros or about 29 percent of the agri-food products the EU had exported to the Southeast Asian country that year. The EU exported 9 million worth of wine, vermouth, cider, and vinegar to Indonesia in 2021. This category made up 0.9 percent of the EU’s total agri-food exports to Indonesia last year.
In 2021, EU27's agri-food imports from Indonesia totaled 5.6 billion euros, of which 45 percent were Indonesian palm and kernel oils, the European Commission data showed.
Halal and Non-Halal Labeling
Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population.
By Oct. 17, 2024, all food, beverages, meat, and poultry distributed in Indonesia must get halal certified and carry a halal label. The 5-year phase-in period for this mandatory certification already began in 2019.
The halal certification does not apply to products made of components that are haram or forbidden by Islamic law such as pork and alcoholic beverages. Indonesia, however, will require haram products to be labeled as non-halal.
The EU agri-food exports encompass a wide range of agri-food products starting from cheese to wine.
On the sidelines of the Colors by Europe event, Sylvain Biard of Business France —the French government agency for exports and international trade— shared his thought the mandatory labeling. According to Biard, the clearer the certification processes are, the better it is for Europe.
“We need to work on the steps to make sure we can collaborate better and promote the European products of halal origin here in Indonesia before the full implementation of the halal law,” Biard said.
“For us to better understand the regulations and processes to make sure European products are still accessible to the Indonesian consumers, especially halal ones, but also the haram ones,” he added.