A new Federal Law on product safety has been published in the UAE Official Gazette and will come into force in July 2019. This new law aims to ensure the safety of products supplied in the UAE and to facilitate trade between the UAE and international markets.
Although the UAE has had consumer protection legislation in place for many years, this is the first law that deals specifically with product safety1.
The Cabinet is to issue Executive Regulations by July 2019, setting out further details in relation to the applicable procedures outlined in the new Product Safety Law2. The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) is to supervise implementation of the Product Safety Law, in coordination with UAE customs authorities and other relevant local authorities.
Which products are covered?
The Product Safety Law applies to products that are manufactured in, or imported into, the UAE, including its free zones. Certain products are excluded, such as human and veterinary medicines, artefacts and some types of second-hand products.
Who must comply?
Various obligations are imposed on "suppliers" of products. This is widely defined to capture local manufacturers, local agents of foreign manufacturers, importers, and others involved in the supply chain whose activities impact product safety.
What must suppliers do?
- not introduce unsafe products into the UAE;
- ensure that their products remain safe during normal use; and
- take remedial measures in case a product becomes unsafe during normal use.
Which standards apply?
Suppliers must ensure that their products comply with any applicable standards issued by ESMA, or by a foreign regulator that has been approved by ESMA. If no such standards are in place, a risk assessment in relation to the product must be filed with ESMA. A supplier whose product has been deemed unsafe may file a grievance with ESMA (although ESMA's ultimate decision on the matter is final).
What are the penalties for breach?
Those who breach the Product Safety Law may be subject to fines of up to AED 3 million and potentially imprisonment. The fact that the consumer is aware of the unsafe nature of a product is not a defence.
The court may also order the seizure or destruction of products (at the supplier's cost), closure of the business for up to six months, and revocation of the supplier's trading licence.
1 Federal Law No. (24) of 2006, as amended
2 Federal Law No. (10) of 2018 On Product Safety
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