Commercial fraud and counterfeit goods were in the crosshairs at a federal Cabinet meeting, with His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, describing the aims of a new law as ‘crucial’ to the country’s economy.
The Cabinet passed two draft laws at a meeting on Sunday relating to commercial fraud and the “global phenomenon” of human trafficking.
Shaikh Mohammed tweeted the announcements after the meeting, describing the laws and motivations behind them. “Law includes all types of commercial fraud as well as ‘misleading commercials’. Transparency is crucial to support our national economy,” he wrote of the commercial fraud law.
The new law would protect UAE markets, preserve the rights of both consumers and traders, and impose tougher penalties for violations, he tweeted.
The general provisions of the bill cover all types of commercial fraud, such as the sale, display or possession of counterfeit goods, state news agency Wam reported.
Under the law, counterfeit goods will be dealt with under a new mechanism, requiring importers to return fake goods to the source or destroy them within a specified timeframe or face penalties.
A new ‘Higher Committee to Combat Commercial Fraud’, to be chaired by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, will study reports of fraud and deceit referred to it, and take necessary action.
Punishments for breaches of food, drugs and medicines regulations will also be ramped up, due to the serious threat to human and animal health and the environment from such breaches, Wam reported.
Shaikh Mohammed said during the meeting the new law was in line with the government’s goal to build transparent and professional markets in which sellers and consumers had full rights and duties.
“Consumer protection consolidates the principle of transparency and impartiality in the business sector,” he said.
He said consumer protection laws would raise the standards of markets, while reflecting the state’s eagerness to protect citizens from harmful markets.
The draft human trafficking law, an amendment to an existing law, will also introduce wide-ranging changes, with tougher penalties as well as a notable increased focus on victims — who will be able to access free lawyers and psychotherapy.
“Such (human trafficking) crimes represent a global phenomenon requiring international cooperation. UAE will combat crimes that are against our morals & principles,” Shaikh Mohammed declared via Twitter.
He also told his Twitter followers the draft law, aimed at giving victims more protection as well as increasing penalties for such crimes, would provide lawyers and psychotherapists for victims and provide security protection for witnesses.
The law would also bring the country into line with international conventions to which it is a signatory.
In other matters, the Cabinet meeting, held in the presence of Lt. General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, endorsed the estimated Dh3.7 billion General Pensions and Social Security Authority expenditure for the 2013 financial year.
The Cabinet also approved the hosting of the headquarters of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements in the Middle East, to promote organic products; it approved a draft agreement between the UAE and Turkey to implement electric power projects and develop Turkish coal mines; endorsed eight agreements to avoid double income taxation with Fiji, Mexico, Iraq, Lithuania, Benin, Japan, Libya and Ecuador; approved two agreements regulating air travel between the UAE and Swaziland and Latvia; and approved the Agreement of Co-operation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters between the UAE and India.