Bahrain to set quality standards for goods
Manama, June 28, 2012
New standards are being brought in for all consumer goods sold in Bahrain, and every product will soon have to have quality mark to ensure it is safe and has been tested to international standards, said a senior government official.
'All products sold in the region will have a 'Gulf Conformity Mark' seal as an indication of fulfilment of the safety requirements,' said Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro.
'The GCC has set up a Gulf Regulatory System for Product Monitoring and we have become members of that body along with the other countries, through the Gulf Standardisation Organisation.
'This is one of the leading co-operation and co-ordination structures among the GCC countries. The system is based on a set of binding regulations having essential safety requirements that have to be met.'
It comes after Bahrain signed up to the Gulf Regulatory System for Product Monitoring, which binds it to bring in new legislation to conform to unified regulations.
Dr Fakhro said the quality mark system had already been implemented on toys being sold in Bahrain since January last year.
He was speaking at the opening of a Safety Means Safe Products seminar at the InterContinental Regency Bahrain yesterday.
The daylong event was held under the auspices of the ministry and organised by the ministry in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Dr Fakhro said the event aimed to create effective channels of communication and interaction between relevant stakeholders to discuss best international practices in product safety legislation and measures.
'The event provided an opportunity for discussion about product safety through the integration of roles of all relevant parties, each according to their specialisation, with the objective of seeking to protect individuals and society as well as to promote sound and fair business practices,' he said.
The liability of manufacturers in the sale of unsafe products was also discussed during the event.
'The multiplicity and diversity of products has also created diversified risks, which obliges us to unify the legally binding rules that hold the manufacturers liable for any damage or harm their products might cause to consumers,' said Dr Fakhro.
He said the ministry was looking to foster a common understanding between legislators, producers, importers, consumers, and testing and inspection bodies to implement and develop the new system.
British Trading Standards Officer and consumer products expert Richard Ferry said it took the EU 30 years to set up market mechanisms and to ensure its market was well regulated.
'This region has only started now and it will take a while for it to reach where the EU is now,' he said. 'Bahrain is keen to do a lot of work and a lot has already been done.'
Ferry, who works for NICO, a not-for-profit, public body dedicated to the pursuit of building an efficient public sector, said a key problem was that consumers in this part of the world were not aware of their rights.
'People here tend to overlook or ignore the fact that they have not been treated fairly. This does not happen in the EU, where consumer rights take centre stage,' he added.
UNDP Bahrain Resident Representative Dr Peter Grohmann and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Dr Essam Fakhro attended the seminar. – TradeArabia News Service