Conformity certificate needed for appliances

In absence of the conformity certificate, the product will be kept on hold by the customs for further approval. (SUPPLIED)

The UAE will begin to control nine home appliances within the first half of this year. Products under the scheme will need to have a certificate of conformity, without which they will not be allowed to enter the country, Emirates Business can reveal.

Products to be controlled are extension cords, storage water heaters, electric irons, microwave ovens, washing machines, electric stoves, refrigerators and freezers, water dispensers and oven toasters.

"These products affect consumer's life, health and safety and the environment. So we want to make sure that these are safe for use under normal conditions," Abdulla Al Muaini, Director of Conformity Affairs at Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma), said.

An industry meeting will be held on January 14 where manufacturers and traders will be told on the criteria the products have to comply with. Esma is giving them until May 15 to certify their appliances under this scheme.

"We have a seminar meeting for the manufacturers and traders on January 14. We are gathering them to explain them why we are doing this, what are the processes that we have, and what are the consequences if they don't comply with the requirements. By May 15, they have to have safety in place," said Mohamed Saleh Badri, Acting Director, Esma.

Esma will ensure that the criteria, based in IEC standards, are complied by conducting a random sampling/testing. Once approved, Esma will issue a certificate of conformity.

In the absence of this certificate, the product will be kept on hold by the customs for further approval. If it passed, it will be allowed entry but if it failed, it will either be destroyed or sent back to the country of its origin.

"Currently we have no factory inspection so what we do is approval through testing. We also do continuous market monitoring," Al Muaini said.

The federal body has already started to monitor water heaters and car tires due to records of accidents a few years ago and is starting to expand this scheme to other home appliances.

Cigarettes are also being controlled to ensure that the amount of nicotine and tar do not exceed the level prescribed by the law. Esma is also looking at controlling cosmetics, toys and gas cylinders this year.

The federal body, however, is faced with a number of challenges. First, inspection within free zones is difficult because these zones are considered outside the jurisdiction of the UAE.

"Free zone areas are a grey area," said an insider, who did not want to be named.

"For example, there are many home appliances sold Dragon Mart for retail. There are a number of problematic appliances there yet people are not yet sure whether they are within the scope of regulation."

Second, border issues continue to pose as a loophole. There are custom bodies in seaports but not in land borders. Third, there has been an inconsistency in the implementation of the law.

"While a certain product is not allowed by one emirate, it can be accepted by another emirate," he said.

 

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