Intensive Activities of Saudi Delegation within Events of UN Conference on Trade and Development
The meetings of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) witnessed intensive activities from the Saudi delegation headed by the Governor of the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO), Dr. Saad bin Othman Al-Kasabi.
The Saudi delegation participated in the meetings of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy. The delegation also met, in a number of bilateral meetings with consumer protection officials in Germany, Brazil and a number of countries as well as international organizations concerned.
At the United Nations Conference on Consumer Protection and Competition, the Governor of SASO reviewed the Kingdom's experience to raise the level of product safety. He expressed his hope that it will be an inspiring experience for all countries in the framework of the strategic partnership that brings the Kingdom together with its friends from all countries of the world.
His Excellency pointed out that the Kingdom launched in 2016, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and his Crown Prince, may God protect them, the Kingdom's Vision 2030. This Vision aimed to make a real breakthrough at the various economic, political, social and cultural levels in the Kingdom. The National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 is one of the most important pillars of Vision 2030, which launched its strategic initiatives and projects in June, 2016.
He added that SASO has launched its national product safety initiatives, and has started in cooperation with its partners very hard and firmly to translate the objectives of the product safety initiative across several axes, noting that the first axis is to develop and create a legislative structure supporting the safety of products in the market by taking advantage of best international practices and experiences. The projects of product safety law and standards and quality law were developed by a group of experts and submitted to the higher authorities for accreditation. It was also approved to convert the Saudi Accreditation Committee to the Saudi Accreditation Center, which is an important and strategic step to ensure the impartiality and independence of accreditation activities in the Kingdom, and to conform to international best practices.
Over the past three years, SASO has issued 27 mandatory technical regulations targeting a number of products according to their riskiness, to reach 40 technical regulations by 2020. He added that the second axis of the initiative projects is the development of technical solutions, where SASO launched, at the end of last year, 2018, Saber electronic platform, which is linked to platform "Fasah" of Saudi Customs. This platform aims to register the products under technical regulations, ensuring that compliance requirements are met according to the data recorded and monitored in the system, leading to a comprehensive electronic tracking system that enables the identification of the product and economic operators involved in the supply chain. The number of establishments registered in the platform "Saber" is more than 9600 establishments. The number of registered products exceeded 175 thousands consumer products.
He pointed out that SASO seeks within the third axis to ensure the competence and efficiency of conformity assessment bodies to prove the safety of products and meet the requirements of technical regulations, through the issuance of conformity certificates based on selection reports issued by accredited laboratories in accordance with international practices. This axis aims to enable the private sector in the system of conformity assessment and product safety in accordance with international best practices.
On the fourth axis, the Governor of SASO said that SASO issues the annual conformity indicator, which measures the extent of success in achieving the objectives of the previous three axes of the program and achieving positive results reflecting the progress in improving the safety of products offered in the Saudi market.
He explained that the annual plan for the issuance of this indicator includes the purchase of a number of samples of commodities that fall under the regulations in accordance with an accurate scientific model, to be then tested. Therefore, the results are analyzed to determine the level of conformity and clarify the glitches that need to be developed. He pointed out that the fifth axis focuses on the establishment of Monitoring and Warning Center for Unsafe Products. Furthermore, relevant bodies participate in the supervisory committee on the work of the center, in a move aimed at taking effective measures to deal with unsafe products in the market through monitoring and exchanging information about those products with regulators in other countries.
Part of the bilateral meeting with German consumer protection officials