ESMA Quality Mark (EQM)
Shoppers can soon confidently pick up quality products from the market thanks to a standardization scheme introduced by a federal agency. Manufacturers or producers can attain an ‘Emirates Quality Mark’ for their products which ensures UAE or regional and international standards, said Muammar Mustafa, Director of the Conformity Assessment Department of Emirates Standardization and Metrology Authority (ESMA) in Dubai.
The (EQM) is a mark of conformity granted to the products that can demonstrate compliance with the relevant UAE National Standards, Regional and/or International Standards and are manufactured by an organization implementing an effective Quality Management System to ensure continuous compliance. The process of achieving the license to use the Emirates Quality Mark involves a comprehensive evaluation of the product as well as the quality system used by the manufacturer in production through testing, inspection.
The Emirates Conformity Mark Scheme to “mark” imported and locally produced products, has received a good response from the industry, he said. ESMA is a national standards body and a legally authorized agency at the federal level entrusted with activities related to standards and quality in all the emirates. It ensures safety, health, economic and environmental protection. The scheme which came into existence last month is not mandatory but voluntary and encourages the participation of manufacturers.
It is a comprehensive standardization scheme which assesses not only the quality of products but also their safety. To grant the “mark” coded “Al Alama” to a product, the standards of the manufacturing or producing units will also be assessed, apart from the quality of the products, said Mustafa.
If it so requires, the officials of the agency will visit a foreign country to assess the standard of the manufacturing unit and the process, said the director. He said so far about 15 manufacturers have submitted applications to get the “mark” for their products since the scheme was introduced on July 19. The applicants include three multinational companies and local manufacturers in the steel, food and lubricant industries. The evaluation may take about six weeks and the first quality mark from ESMA will be presented soon, said the director.
He said ESMA’s aim is to raise awareness among the consumers to insist on a high quality of products so that a self-regulatory mechanism will be put in place. If consumers insist on the products with the “mark” sellers will be compelled to give preference to such products. The director made it clear the system will work in accordance with WTO’s TBT guidelines (Technical Barriers to Trade) which insist that export and import of countries must not be hindered by regulations which are against international law. Many consumers who had a bitter experience with substandard products in the market welcomed the new move