- H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber
- H.E. Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs
- Mr. Humaid Ali Bin Butti Al Muhairi, Assistant Undersecretary for Commercial Affairs and Consumer Protection Sector, the Ministry of Economy
- Over 25 representatives from the UAE’s food and beverage sector
The Food & Beverage Manufacturing Business Group organised a meeting bringing Ministry of Economy officials together with more than 25 representatives from the UAE’s food and beverage sector to discuss commodity prices and consumer protection.
Opening the meeting, H.E. Buamim pointed out that Dubai Chamber is working in cooperation with its strategic partners, including the Ministry of Economy, to support private sector growth, while taking into account consumer rights and protection. He said that the meeting was a positive step as it discussed overcoming obstacles for retailers and suppliers under the Chamber’s efforts to promote the growth of the economy, while raising awareness of consumer rights and traders’ duties.
Key Issues Discussed
- During the interactive session, participants raised the challenges they face with the official mechanism for implementing price changes, which they said was not clear. They said they were unsure which types of commodities were subject to price caps. They also asked about the Ministry’s method of accepting or rejecting a request for a price change.
- The trade representatives highlighted the common causes of price changes, including the cost of shipping, the quality of services offered and the growing demand by consumers, inflation, tariffs and other factors. They said these factors were often intensified by high promotional fees imposed by sales outlets, like hyper and supermarkets, especially during the start of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
- On his part, H.E. Al Shehhi stressed the important role played by the Ministry in supporting the economy, while protecting the rights of the consumers and the business community. He stated that the mechanism adopted by the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection to control the prices of commodities included consultation with private sector representative organizations, including Dubai Chamber and the UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He said that his Ministry was aware of the high global commodity prices and indicated that certain products are protected like dairy, oil and eggs, because they are popular consumer items used by a large segment of consumers.
Plan of Action
- H.E. Buamim urged food and beverage traders to form a common platform under the Chamber’s Food and Beverage Business Group as this would benefit them by promoting their point of view and helping to address their concerns.
- The businessmen asked the Ministry of Economy to prescribe a clearer mechanism for the price change decision-making process and to enhance consumer awareness about price increases caused by circumstances beyond their control. They also confirmed their commitment to consumer rights and to offer added-value products besides agreeing to launch consumer awareness campaigns in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy.
- The Undersecretary for Economic Affairs called on food and beverage traders and retailers to find innovative solutions to price rises by finding competitive markets, suppliers and provision of quality products. He also stressed the importance of increasing awareness of consumer rights, as well as the need to intensify cooperation with all concerned parties for the betterment of the industry.