Steel group warns against counterfeit products

Abu Dhabi
SAAC has warned that the growing presence of counterfeit steel products in the ME poses major risks for all stakeholders

The Steel Alliance Against Counterfeiting (SAAC) has warned that the growing presence of counterfeit steel products in the Middle East poses major safety, legal and financial risks for all stakeholders.

SAAC is an industry initiative of 17 global steel products manufacturers committed to combating counterfeit steel products.

The counterfeit products will lead to disastrous consequences for the environment and lives in case of accidents, said a statement from SAAC.   

Collectively, the alliance represents steel products producers with operations worth approximately $20 billion in turnover. The alliance’s representatives recently spoke at the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (Adipec).

Andrey Burtsev, vice president of sales, Interpipe, said: “While there are no quantifiable statistics on the size of the counterfeit market in the region, its presence is real and represents a threat to the safety and integrity of this region’s current investments in major infrastructure projects.”

“Not only are our businesses being defrauded but end-users are too and that exposes them,” he added.

Dr Carlo Farina, managing director, Friedrich Geldbach, said: “This dark industry is estimated to be worth several millions, and it is putting reputable domestic and international manufacturers at risk because the counterfeiters are able to outcompete the market on price. While we understand costs are important, product quality and safety must never be compromised.”

Concerns have been raised regarding the emergence of more intermediaries that claim to have European products, license registrations and/or manufacturing facilities, but whose products have become difficult to trace or even ‘untraceable’, it said.

This lack of product certainty must be addressed, according to the Alliance members, who are urging regional authorities to introduce added layers of accountability and scrutiny of the true origin of the products offered for sale by traders during the approval stage rather than just relying on the brand appearing on the products, it added.

Earlier this week, the alliance pledged its support for ongoing revisions to the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice 2016.  Further, it met in Dubai with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Department of Economic Development (DED) to discuss the need for their full collaboration in the fight against counterfeiters through effective investigations and seizures of counterfeit steel tubular products, it stated.

Anaïs Eiden, group senior legal manager, Intellectual Property and Innovation, Vallourec, said: “We are committed to working with all relevant stakeholders and government bodies in the UAE and across the region, to take meaningful steps to mitigate the risks resulting from counterfeiting and avoid this unlawful practice from becoming an even more systemic problem.”

“We intend to intensify our awareness campaign and tools in the coming months whilst working collaboratively with authorities and end-users to identify solutions,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service.

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