Supplier insight: SAAC

According to the Alliance, every one of their businesses had been – and continues to be – directly exposed and affected in the region by sub-standard and uncertified products

Andrey Burtsev, vice-president of sales, Interpipe.
Andrey Burtsev, vice-president of sales, Interpipe.

Leading members of the global Steel Alliance Against Counterfeiting (SAAC) – an industry initiative of 18 global steel products manufacturers committed to combating counterfeiting – have said that the growing presence of counterfeit steel products in the Middle East poses considerable safety, legal and financial risks for all stakeholders as well as being disastrous for the environment.

According to the Alliance, every one of their businesses had been – and continues to be – directly exposed and affected in the region by sub-standard and uncertified products fraudulently marked with their respective brand. Collectively, the Alliance represents steel products producers with approximately up to $20bn turnover. The Alliance representatives were speaking on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC).

“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,” said Andrey Burtsev, vice-president of sales, Interpipe. “Not only are our businesses being defrauded but end users are too and that exposes them,” he said.

Dr. Carlo Farina, managing director of Friedrich Geldbach, added: “This dark industry is now worth 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. 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.

The Alliance has pledged its support for ongoing revisions to the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice 2016. Further, the Alliance met in Dubai with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Department of Economic Development (DED) to discuss the need for their full assistance in the fight against counterfeiters through effective investigations and seizures of counterfeit steel tubular products. It also supports increased mandatory authenticity checks of the of mill test certificates (MTC) to mitigate the use of counterfeit products.

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 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.”

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