Fake accessories trade runs rampant in Dubai

ECN uncovers rift between industry and authorities over counterfeit goods trade.

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By  Aaron Greenwood Published  October 5, 2006

An ECN investigation has found the trade of counterfeit mobile phone accessories rife in Dubai, with industry and government authorities at loggerheads to stop it. Hundreds of fake batteries, chargers and headsets are stocked on the shelves of retail outlets located in the Deira region of Dubai. In some stores, counterfeit accessories outnumber genuine products by 10 to one. Dubai-based mobile accessories vendors and distributors contacted by ECN confirmed that trade in counterfeit goods was massively impacting their businesses. M.P. Sharma, president of Nokia Middle East accessories distributor Techmart, claimed that trade in counterfeit goods was widespread across the Middle East region. “Fake goods are often produced to such high standards in terms of packaging and branding even Nokia sometimes struggles to identify them from genuine items,” he said. Numerous counterfeit goods traders contacted by ECN claimed to have sourced fake products from suppliers in Jebel Ali Free Zone, Sharjah and Ajman. Sharma agreed with these assertions, claiming that counterfeiters imported goods from China and applied branding locally so they appeared genuine items designed for the Middle East market. Despite recent efforts by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DDED) to stem the flow of counterfeit goods into the UAE, key industry players criticised the department’s approach to the issue. “Dubai authorities have not taken serious action [to stop counterfeit trade],” said Samsung Gulf Electronics president Je Hyoung Park. “This trade is impacting every company involved in the accessories business.” However, the director of the DDED’s Compliance Division, Mohammed Hilal Al Murooshdi, claimed that industry was failing to cooperate with his department in pursuit of counterfeit traders. “We have enjoyed some success in tackling counterfeit trade. But the [accessories suppliers] often don’t bother to follow up with us,” he said. “These companies prefer to contact the media. They are talking more than working. We cannot deal with them in this manner.”

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