New Saudi association to protect consumer interests

JEDDAH — An aspect of life these days in Saudi Arabia, where inflation is worrying and affecting most people in the kingdom, is consumers and fake brands.

By Habib Shaikh

Published: Sun 10 Feb 2008, 9:05 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:21 PM

There is increasing focus on this, which is evident in the first strategic Arab Consumer Brand Protection Forum to be held here from October 19-21 under the patronage of Makkah Governor Prince Khalid Al Faisal.

This was announced in information made available to Khaleej Times here last week. It may be noted that just last month the Council of Ministers approved the formation of an association for consumer protection. The Cabinet meeting was chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

"The Association for Consumer Protection will take care of the affairs and interests of consumers. It will also protect and defend their rights," the Cabinet said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. It added that the Association will also take up the issues of consumers at public and private agencies and protect them from all types of trade fraud, imitation products and other deceitful practices and excessive prices.

The formation of the new association is significant as it comes at a time when prices of most consumer goods in the Kingdom have increased 10 to 50 per cent.

As per the Cabinet statement, the new Association will also promote consumer awareness on more economical ways of purchasing.

According to Ahmed bin Suleiman Al Zubeidi, CEO of Hemaya Universal, in view of the private sector's keen understanding of the importance of the first Arab Consumer Brand Protection Forum, several organisations and brand owners have shown interest through participation and sponsorship. The event promises to bring about stronger government support, as well as consumer awareness by initiating an unparallel campaign to alert the public of the dangers of counterfeited goods, and thus protect the unwary consumers.

"The volume of commercial fraud globally is estimated at 7 to 10 per cent of the global trading volume that is $780 billion annually," Al Zubeidi said.

The conference will be hosted by the Arab League in cooperation with Hemaya Universal as a first step to combat the epidemic of counterfeiting.

The first Forum aims to educate consumers of about Intellectual Property Rights and counterfeit goods through the use of symposiums and lectures on the ill-effects of commercial fraud. It will address the need to protect the economies of Arab countries, as well as traders and copyright owners of original brands. Exchange of data and information with international organisations specialised in the fight against commercial fraud and counterfeiting will also be incorporated into the strategy to ensure success of the Forum.

Speaking about the marketing communication support, Dr. Edmond Saadah, general director of the executive committee of the Forum, said that Hemaya Universal had decided to implement an effective marketing communications campaign using a wide range of media and content targeting each key segment of stakeholders.

The multiple channels of communications include mass media, web portals, direct mail and events. "This integrated marketing communication campaign will ensure the delivery of effective reach to key stakeholders in the public and private sectors worldwide," he said.

More news from Business