Disabling Labeling: The WTO Consistency of the Indonesian Mandatory Halal Labeling Law

19 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2016  

Michelle Limenta

Universitas Pelita Harapan

Bayan Edis

Universitas Pelita Harapan

Oscar Fernando

Universitas Pelita Harapan

Date Written: June 27, 2016

Abstract

The Halal Act is the first law in Indonesia, a Muslim majority nation requiring Halal certification and labeling. Prior to the law, the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) oversaw voluntary Halal certification. While Islamic organizations in Indonesia have praised the emergence of this law, local and foreign business entities have expressed their anxiety over whether such requirements would mean extra costs for them. The Halal Act involves several WTO issues, which could raise questions of Indonesia’s compliance with its WTO obligations. There have been a number of WTO cases where panel and the Appellate Body evaluated the concept of ‘public morals’. The question is how to balance this moral/religious objective and the means used to achieve such objective so that they are not more trade restrictive than necessary? It is also important to note that although Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, the Indonesian constitution itself specifies that the country is not a Muslim nation and recognizes the existence of more than five religions in the country. This paper seeks to examine the WTO TBT consistency of the new Indonesian Halal Act and whether mandatory halal certification and labeling can be defended as an exception to WTO law.

Keywords: Halal, Labelling, Mandatory, Indonesia, TBT, Non-Discrimination, Legitimate Objective, Public Morals, International Standards

Suggested Citation

Limenta, Michelle and Edis, Bayan and Fernando, Oscar, Disabling Labeling: The WTO Consistency of the Indonesian Mandatory Halal Labeling Law (June 27, 2016). Society of International Economic Law (SIEL), Fifth Biennial Global Conference, Working Paper 2016/08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2800903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2800903

Michelle Limenta (Contact Author)

Universitas Pelita Harapan ( email )

Jl. M.H. Thamrin Boulevard
Tangerang, Banten, East Java 15811
Indonesia

Bayan Edis

Universitas Pelita Harapan ( email )

Jl. M.H. Thamrin Boulevard
Tangerang, Banten, East Java 15811
Indonesia

Oscar Fernando

Universitas Pelita Harapan ( email )

Jl. M.H. Thamrin Boulevard
Tangerang, Banten, East Java 15811
Indonesia

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