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Qatar: Strict checks on imported goods soon

 Counterfeit and low quality products–among them basic food items, cosmetics, detergents, toys and building materials–will not be able to enter the Qatari market as the country has plans to soon set up laboratories to instantly test their quality.
Separate laboratories to test the quality of consumer goods including bottled water, edible oil, cosmetics, detergents, food items and toys will shortly be installed.

This was disclosed by the head of the Standards and Laboratory Department at the Ministry of Environment, Dr Mohamed Saif Al Kuwari, in an interview with Qatar News Agency on the sidelines of a consumer conference which was held here recently.

In a first in the entire Arab world, Qatar is readying new standards and specifications for 1,400 products of various kinds, including foodstuff, toys and building materials, in line with international standards.

The new standards are to be implemented within three months. They will first be published in the official gazette.

These products will be issued quality certificates after tests are conducted at the Laboratory and Standards Department of the Environment Ministry. No product could be imported without a certificate.

If it is a local product, it wouldn’t be allowed to be marketed if its quality is not found to be conforming to Qatari (international) standards, Al Kuwari said.

“Most of these specifications are already prepared,” he pointed out adding that chemicals, information technology (IT) hardware, automobiles and tyres are also part of the 1,400 products for which global quality standards are being developed.

Under focus will be construction material such as ready-mixed concrete, cement blocks and asphalt. Their quality will be tested and monitored and the ultimate objective is to ensure that their life span is of a minimum of 75 years. The idea to adopt new specifications for 1,400 products is to protect consumers, enhance investor confidence and encourage more foreign investors to enter the country.

Al Kuwari blamed the traders for importing low quality materials and said a law enforced as early as 1990 bans the import of such items. “However, to combat counterfeit and low quality stuff, we need a public awareness campaign together with strict implementation of relevant laws.”

The official said last year the Environment Ministry, the Supreme Council of Health and the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Business and Trade coordinated efforts to prevent the entry of large stocks of low quality foodstuff and household electrical appliances into the country

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