In the United Arab Emirates, the Department of Economic Development (DED) as well as the Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection sector (CCCP), regulates goods sold in Dubai and other UAE cities. The DED also conducts raids of shops and homes where counterfeit goods are sold.
When it comes to fake products, the UAE is one of the top perpetrators. Dubai alone sells about $275 million in counterfeits goods which range from fake designer handbags and sunglasses to pens and DVDs. Even though the government is cracking down, these sellers are quickly learning how to evade the raids.
Sellers of fake goods used to sell mostly in varying shops in the UAE, inviting buyers to back rooms or even nearby apartments to check out their products. With an increase in raids and shutdowns of shops, this method has become too risky. Suppliers have recently turned to selling fake goods online, using the encrypted messaging app WhatsApp to contact potential buyers and even home delivering sold goods. One fake goods vendor named Saeed, told an undercover 7DAYS news reporter posing as a potential buyer, “Police are constantly checking our shops, it’s too risky to keep bags in the stores. That’s why I now prefer to use Whatsapp. Just give me your number and I will deliver the items later to your house after midnight.”
Each sale of these counterfeit goods is directly linked to not only poor working conditions, but also crime and terrorism. A study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the EU Intellectual Property Office found that while the majority of fake goods come from China, the UAE ranks 8th in a list of countries where these products originate. While the products include fake designer goods, other counterfeit items also include fake car parts and fake medical drugs, with 73% of fake medicines coming out of the UAE. The entire counterfeits goods trade is worth about half a trillion US dollars per year.