13 Nov 2022
Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection discusses updates on the implementation of new consumer goods pricing policy
H.E. Bin Touq: The UAE has an advanced consumer protection system and has implemented a number of measures to ensure market stability and availability of goods
In a meeting chaired by HE Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection discussed its comprehensive strategy to enhance the national consumer protection system, raise consumer awareness, and increase the efficiency of the country’s market monitoring mechanisms. Several new policies and procedures were discussed, including updates on the implementation of the consumer goods pricing policy, organization of the contractual relationship between suppliers and sales outlets and the development of product recall mechanism for faulty vehicles. In addition, methods to curb the nuisance of unwanted marketing calls, the draft amendment to the executive regulations of Federal Law No. 15 of 2022 on consumer protection, and developments in the amendment of Federal Law No. 4 of 2012 on the regulation of competition were also discussed.
The Minister of Economy emphasized that the UAE has an advanced system for consumer protection and enhancing sound commercial practices, as well as ensuring that the country’s markets sell products and goods that adhere to the highest international standards. These efforts are in line with the directives of the wise leadership, the goals and principles of the 50 and the determinants of the UAE Centennial 2071.
HE Bin Touq said: “The Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection follows a proactive approach in developing its consumer protection strategies in order to ensure that the best solutions are in place to deal with all challenges, support the continuous growth of the country’s markets and to implement commercial best practices. It follows the same approach in developing solutions to address challenges that arise from the shifts in global trade and supply chains, which in turn may affect the flow of goods into the country’s markets, thus affecting prices.” HE pointed out that the Committee is expanding its network of members through the addition of two new members - the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. These two news members will also participate in the monitoring of prices, and is also advancing its duties to include the approval of consumer protection policies, including the strategic policy for the pricing of goods in partnership with the Ministry of Economy.
HE added: “The Committee is keen to continuously develop policies that help offer goods at reasonable prices and ensure their availability to adequately meet the consumer demand in the country. It is also committed to periodically reviewing and evaluating the efficiency of the regulations governing the contractual relationships between producers, suppliers, and retail outlets. This ensures their compliance with the applicable controls and standards, and limit harmful and unfair commercial practices by evaluating the legislation, which contributes to increasing investments in the various retail sectors.”
HE continued: “In today’s meeting, we discussed a number of topics that support the country’s vision to ensure market stability and the availability of products through various activities. These include following up on the implementation of the consumer goods pricing policy, organizing the contractual relationship between distributors and sales outlets, methods to limit annoying marketing calls, and the draft amendment to the consumer protection law. We have also adopted a set of recommendations to advance our plans to strengthen the country’s consumer protection system in cooperation with our partners in the government and private sectors.”
The Committee members are HE Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy and Vice Chairman of the Committee; HE Abdullah Sultan Al Fann Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Monitoring & Following Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy and Committee Rapporteur; in addition to representatives of the economic development departments in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah; the Fujairah Municipality; the Emirates Society for Consumer Protection; and the private sector.
The meeting discussed the pricing policy for basic consumer goods in the UAE, which was developed by the Ministry of Economy in cooperation with its partners from the relevant federal and local authorities and the private sector. The policy allows the freedom of prices based on the principle of supply and demand in a manner that ensures the balance and stability of prices through the principle of competition and market mechanisms. Only those consumer goods considered as basic necessities are exempted from this, for which, traders must obtain prior approval from the Ministry of Economy before hiking prices. The most prominent of these commodities are cooking oil, eggs, fresh milk, rice, sugar, fresh chicken, legumes, bread, flour, and cleaning materials. For these goods, the maximum profit margin for suppliers or sales outlet is pre-determined.
In its previous meeting, the Committee had recommended the formation of a permanent team of members to deal with and decide on repeated requests for increasing commodity prices in accordance with the mechanisms and controls it had previously set. During the meeting, the Committee explained that a cabinet decision was issued on the formation of a team comprising several experts and specialists to examine requests for increasing the prices of consumer goods.
Furthermore, the meeting discussed the regulation of the contractual relationship between suppliers and sales outlets. It also reviewed the best international models followed in this regard, and the progress in the preparation and development of a guideline that establishes fair mechanisms and effective procedures to regulate this vital relationship to ensure the smooth flow of goods and their provision to consumers in the country’s markets.
Moreover, the Committee discussed means of cooperation between the Ministry of Economy and the concerned authorities in the UAE to upgrade the procedures for product recalls, especially those of defective vehicles, in light of the recommendations of the second Federal Traffic Council meeting. The Committee continued the implementation of its previous decision to form a committee for the automotive sector, headed by the Ministry of Economy and with the membership of local and federal authorities and the private sector. The main aim is to ensure that recall requests and notifications reach all consumers across the country in an effective manner and in a way that ensures the safety of products and the quality of consumer services. In this regard, the Committee announced the issuance of a decision approving the formation of the Automobile Committee, which will be responsible for the supervision of cars imported into the country, ensuring that they conform to the highest quality standards and safety requirements.
The Committee also reviewed its recommendations on the amendments to the executive regulations of Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on consumer protection, in addition to its proposed amendments to Federal Law No. 4 of 2012 on the regulation of competition. H.E. Bin Touq underlined the need to review the law in a way that supports healthy competition in the UAE, an integral part of the national economy given the openness it boasts today, and in line with the innovative laws and legislation approved during the last stage to drive the sustainable growth of the national economy.
The meeting further reviewed the Committee’s strategy to curb annoying marketing communications and their negative effects on the country’s economic activities. It also discussed the resort of some authorities to harming consumers through some fraudulent practices that the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection is keen to confront constantly, in cooperation with its government partners at the federal and local levels. In this regard, the Committee recommended the preparation of a comprehensive strategy to confront annoying marketing calls, organizing mechanisms to address them, solving the problem of unwanted calls through coordination between various partners, telecommunications companies and consumers, and benefiting from the best practices followed globally in this regard.
The Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection is responsible for a number of strategic tasks to develop the consumer protection system and enable sound consumer and commercial practices in the UAE, including the optimal application of relevant legislation in the country’s markets. It sets the general policies related to consumer protection, studies suggestions, recommendations, regulations and reports related to consumer protection and takes the necessary decisions in this regard. It makes recommendations related to price fluctuations in the local markets, and develops strategies and programs to raise consumer awareness on their rights and duties.