South Korea is adopting the Emirate’s halal certification system, which officials hope will act as a catalyst for the trade in animal products and have a knock-on effect for other food produce.

Two years ago, the Halal Development Council called for a unified local and regional certification body because different standards around the world confused consumers and authorities and obstructed trade.

The new centre will exchange information about halal certification with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma).

“There is a lot of trade between the Middle East and Korea,” said Dr Kim Jae-soo, president and chief executive of the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation. “There is also a demand for Korean products and it’s increasing year by year.”

The UAE imports about 90 per cent of its food. Opening up another source of imports will allow the Emirates to diversify, avoid shortages and help to meet growing demand.

Retailers expressed interest in stocking South Korean produce.

Humaid Al Hammadi, president of the Emirati-Korean Friendship Society, said the office would deepen relations between the countries.

“In the past five years, people didn’t know much about Korea and its products but, nowadays, we’re finding kimchi in some supermarkets. Once the supply chain is made more halal friendly, they’ll have a big market in the region because the UAE is the gateway to the Middle East.”