Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has put on display more than 400 fake commercial items through an exhibition at Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, in an attempt to combat and raise awareness about commercial fraud.
This commercial fraud combating exhibition is in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Brand Owners Protection Group BPG, the Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAA) and 14 companies representing commercial agencies and major private sector companies.
MohammAad Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said that the exhibition is an opportunity for consumers to know directly from representatives of companies about their brands on the original goods, and how to differentiate between an original and a forged item.
“Commercial fraud in entirety has become a widespread phenomenon which receives worldwide attention, so it is important for ADDED to organise such exhibitions and events to address this issue, in order to raise the awareness of the community and protect of the national economy,” he said.
Mohammad Rashid Al Rumaithi, Director of Trade Protection Directorate, told reporters that so far in 2012 up to 20,000 forged pieces have been confiscated and withdrawn from the market by the Trade Protection Directorate, the majority of which have been clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories.
Al Rumaithi said that the Department has also filed 58 offenses against violators of the Federal Law No. (4) of 1979 on Suppression of Fraud and Deceit in Commercial Transactions, adding that the market value of the confiscated forged branded products reached Dh5,433,729, while other confiscated counterfeited goods amounted to Dh1,045,684
Mohammad Kamal, Regional Coordinator at the Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance based in Dubai said that there has been much awareness over the past decade, where 10 years ago the percentage of forged items in the UAE market was 45 to 65 per cent of the whole market. “In the last market research in March this year, the percentage [of forged goods] was 25 to 30 per cent in the UAE. That’s a huge success for the governmental departments. The UAE is considered to be the number one country in the Middle East in its fight against counterfeit goods,” he said.
Kamal said that while there really aren’t any figures on how much money companies selling original products lose from the presence of fake version of its goods in the market, research has shown that for every item that is caught and confiscated, the company makes $8.
Al Rumaithi explained that the process is usually one of two: either the inspector makes the trip to a specific store and finds the counterfeited product, or via the branded company or its representatives who have put forward a complaint that a counterfeit version of its products are being sold elsewhere.
Fines for the sale of counterfeit items start at Dh5,000.