This research on the global halal economy focuses on select halal markets, which are significant in size and their aspiration of leading halal certification and related quality standardization in the past few years. The MENA is a case in point. South East Asia has been inspiring a halal diplomacy with other players. For each case, I systematically look at whether China is a significant partner in the halal market and projections regarding their influence. The expansion of the halal certification process in these countries also presents a trend that is now increasingly observable in major regional markets of halal, i.e., MENA, EU and ASEAN. The paper first presents a general review of literature in social studies of halal markets and international relations of the global South relevant to the topic of the research, notably with the growing influence of China. Then, the methods section provides an overview of the actors interviewed to learn about halal certification and quality standardization, and the questions that framed the discussions and exchange with them. Lastly, the findings and analysis section concentrates on three key arguments: 1) the halal protocols suffer from a double illness: firms find them burdensome and halal certification bodies (HCBs) from different countries tend to distrust each other; 2) despite being the symbolic center of the Muslim world, MENA countries seem to lag behind in terms of heralding global efforts to unify the global halal economy; 3) even if the global halal market lacks unity in terms of its framing, its growth is triggering important advancements in terms of standardization and quality control that institutionalize consumption and production ethics and professionalize the halal market.
Zaynab El Bernoussi, or Z, is a scholar of dignity politics, international relations, and the international political economy. Her research interests focus on the politicization of dignity demands in the political development of the global South, bioethical issues, and South-South cooperation. Her first book, Dignity in the Egyptian Revolution, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. Z is Vice-Chair of the Global South Caucus of International Studies at the International Studies Association (ISA), a founding member of the Security in Context network, and a member of the Rabat Social Studies Institute (RSSI). Z was a Fulbright grantee in 2009-2011 and 2017 and a Carnegie grantee in 2014 and 2022. She was a recipient of the Arab Prize in 2015 by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) for her article, Postcolonial Politics of Dignity: From the 1956 Suez Canal Nationalization to the 2011 Revolution in Egypt. Z lived in Morocco, the US, Spain, Italy, and Hong Kong, China.