Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—The planned Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consumer protection commission will be launched in 2016, according to a source familiar with the situation who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity.
The GCC has moved to set up a commission to protect consumers after markets in the six-member council saw a proliferation of imported counterfeit goods and a growing number of sector monopolies.
The GCC’s Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs, Abdullah Al-Shibli, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the commission will “bring together points of view on public policy about consumer protection in the GCC countries,” facilitate the exchange of information and the conduct of research studies on consumer markets, and provide a channel of communication for GCC member-states to discuss policies to combat counterfeiting and unfair trading practices.
A Saudi retail investor, Ahmed Al-Khaledi, said addressing monopolies and unfair trading practices in the Gulf would mark a shift in consumer protection policies.
“Arab Gulf markets suffer from the access of counterfeit and poor-quality products, which negatively impact customers,” he said.
Khaledi said hoped the GCC would be able to prevent counterfeit goods from entering the GCC market, both by increasing the role of customs and border protection agencies and through the new consumer protection commission.
“Most of these goods come from Chinese and other East Asian markets. It is important to pay attention to what is being imported from there, so as to decrease the volume of counterfeit goods in the countries of the region.”