A new Federal law has been introduced in the UAE in respect of product safety, obligations of suppliers, penalties and the process of filing grievances.
The aim of the new law is to enhance product safety in the UAE and develop a clear framework for the introduction of new products into the UAE marketplace. Consumers are encouraged to be confident that products traded are safe from defects, which may cause personal injury and or property damage.
The new Law applies to all products imported into the UAE, excluding human and veterinary medicines, commodities imported as artefacts and second hand products which need repairing.
The new Law also applies to products manufactured within the UAE.
Obligations of Suppliers
The definition of suppliers includes manufacturers, local agents, importers and any supply chain professional whose activities have an impact on product safety attributes.
The supplier shall introduce only safe products into the UAE, including free zones. To ensure that the product will remain safe after introduction and during normal and repetitive use, suppliers must take the necessary precautionary and remedial measures defined by the Executive Regulations of the present Law in case a change is discovered in the product characteristics, which subsequently results in its transformation to an unsafe product due following normal use.
Fines of up to AED 3 million, in addition to imprisonment, may be imposed for a breach of the new Federal law. ESMA (the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology) may also seize and or destroy infringing products, or order that premises may be closed for six months. Accordingly, suppliers must ensure products adhere to ESMA standards or face stiff consequences.
If a product has been deemed unsafe, a supplier does have the option to file a grievance with ESMA.
The process of filing a grievance is as follows:
1. The supplier shall file his grievance in writing to the ESMA within ten working days from the date of being notified of the resolution and shall attach the necessary documents indicating the reason for the grievance.
2. During the period of deciding on his grievance, the supplier shall apply the resolution against which he filed the grievance, until ESMA issues a resolution to the contrary.
3. ESMA shall take the necessary procedures in relation to deciding on the filed grievances, including the examination of such grievances and verifying the soundness of the same, based on the information provided by the supplier or any other relevant and credible sources.
4.ESMA shall take its decision on any grievance within ten working days from the date of receiving it, and its decision shall be final.
Suppliers are well advised to ensure that technical standards are adhered to, and risk assessments are filed with ESMA upon introduction of a new product into the UAE marketplace. Regulatory authorities in other countries may not be recognised by ESMA, in relation to product safety standards. A cross check of the relevant applicable standards approved by ESMA is essential now more than ever before.