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null  Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection reviews new policies to enhance its supervisory role on markets

17 Jul 2022

 Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection reviews new policies to enhance its supervisory role on markets




H.E. Bin Touq: The development of the consumer protection system is a national priority that the Committee will work to achieve in cooperation with all partners




 The Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection headed by H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, met to review its comprehensive strategy to strengthen the consumer protection system, raise the level of consumer awareness and enhance the efficiency of market control mechanisms in the country in the next phase. The meeting discussed several new policies and procedures in this regard, most notably the consumer goods pricing policy, the regulation of the contractual relationship between distributors and sales outlets, and the development of the product recall mechanism.

The meeting was attended by several members of the Committee, most notably, H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy and Vice Chairman of the Committee; H.E. Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Monitoring and Follow-up Sector at the Ministry of Economy and the Rapporteur of the Committee; Marwan Al Sabousi, Director of the Competition and Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry. In addition, representatives of the economic development departments in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah; the Emirates Society for Consumer Protection; the Emirates Nutrition Association; and the Emirates International Accreditation Center (EIAC) also attended the meeting. The Committee meeting also included, for the first time, a number of experts and specialists in the field of consumer protection from the private sector who added more value to the discussions by providing necessary inputs to support the formulation of programs and initiatives in accordance with best practices.

H.E. Bin Touq said: “The strengthening of the consumer protection system, enabling sound business practices in the UAE’s markets and enhancing their sustainability and stability are national priorities that we will work to achieve in the next phase through concerted and integrated efforts by the Committee members. To achieve this, we will cooperate with various concerned federal and local authorities and the cooperative and private sectors in the country. Besides, we will benefit from the valuable contributions of private sector experts and specialists to achieve this goal, in a new step adopted by the Committee. It will help us enhance the quality of new initiatives and policies designed to elevate consumer protection to new heights in line with global best practices.”

The Minister of Economy further explained that the Committee has adopted a long-term proactive vision in line with the wise leadership’s vision for the future economy and the principles and objectives of the 50. He said: “We will intensify our joint efforts to follow up the extrapolation of the local, regional and international markets, anticipate their future trends, and follow up on relevant global indicators to ensure the availability and diversity of basic commodities in quantities that adequately meet the needs of the country’s citizens and residents. This will help ensure the strategic stocks of these goods, thus consolidating a balanced relationship between suppliers and consumers, contributing to enhanced market stability and ensuring a safe consumer environment. The Committee will also work on promoting consumers’ awareness levels, especially in terms of e-commerce and online shopping platforms, as well as provide mechanisms dedicated to consumer protection in unusual and emergency circumstances.”

The Committee meeting discussed the pricing policy of basic consumer goods in the country, which was developed by the Ministry in collaboration with relevant federal and local partners and the private sector. The policy allows for revision of prices based on the principles of supply and demand in order to ensure the balance and stability of prices through the principle of competition and market mechanisms, excluding those consumer goods needed to address consumers’ basic needs. This includes cooking oils, eggs, fresh milk, rice, sugar, fresh chicken, legumes, bread, flour and cleaning supplies, for which, traders need to obtain prior approval from the Ministry before increasing prices. Furthermore, the meeting discussed maximum profit margin for each commodity for suppliers or traders. In this regard, the Committee recommended the formation of a team of member authorities to look into and decide on requests to increase prices and submit periodic reports on them to the Committee.

Furthermore, H.E. Bin Touq stated that through this directive, the Committee aims to find a fair and balanced mechanism according to best practices to ensure the availability of products in the UAE markets with convenient prices and consumers’ access to them, while also protecting the rights of product suppliers. This is in light of the current circumstances that the global markets are facing and their impact on supply chains, price hikes and their availability in importing countries.

In a related context, the Committee discussed the organization of the contractual relationship between suppliers and outlets and presented the best global models that are being used in this regard. In addition, the Committee resolved to prepare and develop a guideline that sets fair mechanisms and effective procedures to organize this vital relationship, which will serve a national reference in this regard, ensuring the smooth flow of products and their availability to customers in the UAE markets.

The meeting also explored ways for the Ministry to collaborate with relevant authorities in the country to enhance the existing product recall procedure, especially those of defective vehicles, in line with the recommendations of the Federal Traffic Control’s second meeting. The meeting agreed on the formation of a Committee to oversee the automotive sector, headed by MOE, with the membership of all local and federal authorities and the private sector concerned in this regard. This Committee will ensure that the recall requests and notices effectively reach all consumers in the country, guaranteeing the highest levels of safety and providing consumers with the best products and services, in line with consumer protection practices of highest standards. The Committee also put forward a recommendation for the development of a supplementary vehicle handbook for consumers in the country.

The Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection holds a number of strategic responsibilities aimed at developing the UAE’s consumer protection landscape and enabling sound consumer and commercial practices in the country. These include ensuring the ideal application of relevant legislation in the UAE markets; setting public policies related to consumer protection; studying the suggestions, recommendations, regulations, and reports it receives related to consumer protection. The Committee also takes necessary decisions in this regard, apart from making recommendations related to the movement of prices in the local markets; and developing plans and programs to educate consumers about their rights and obligations.

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