By Rob Corder
Knock-off goods are believed to cost the Saudi Arabian economy up to SR50 billion per year.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has called on government agencies to crack down on the import of substandard and counterfeit goods into the Kingdom.
At a meeting of the Cabinet yesterday (Monday), he demanded that several government departments including agriculture, commerce and industry and health ministries to adopt a more active stance in protecting consumers from rogue importers and traders.
"The concerned ministries and departments have also been instructed to set out special standards for goods and services and make sure that these standards are enforced," Culture and Information Minister Iyad Madani told the Saudi Press Agency.
Two new initiatives were unveiled. A consumer protection agency will be established within the Commerce and Industry Ministry, and a privately run Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) will be established.
The association will defend the rights of consumers, take up their issues with public and private authorities, protect them from fraud and counterfeit products and services and enhance consumer awareness, according to a Cabinet statement.
The trade in counterfeit products is a huge industry in Saudi Arabia, costing legitimate businesses up to SR50 billion per year, according to a Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokesman quoted in Arab News.