Transformation program boosts Saudi Arabia’s capacity to ensure safety in traded goods — minister

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Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qassabi opens the Saudi Product Safety Forum in Riyadh on April 17, 2019. (SPA)
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The Saudi Product Safety Program aims to raise the level of items conformity in the Saudi market to 80 percent by 2020. (SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qassabi opens the Saudi Product Safety Forum in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 18 April 2019
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Transformation program boosts Saudi Arabia’s capacity to ensure safety in traded goods — minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s national transformation program 2020 has lifted the quality of life in the Kingdom, boosting the country’s capacity to attract investment and ensure safety in traded goods, Majid Al-Qassabi, the commerce and investment minister, said.
Al-Qassabi, who is also chairman of the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO), told the inaugural ceremony of the Saudi Product Safety Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday that the national transformation program and the other strategic initiatives are part of “relentless efforts” by the government to provide an attractive investment environment for domestic and foreign companies.
The development of legislative and regulatory frameworks is helping to ensure fair trade in the Kingdom, he added.
Saad Al-Qasabi, SASO’s governor, said that the forum will explore regional and global experiences in product safety.
“The Kingdom devotes a great deal of attention to product safety. This is reflected through the launch of the Saudi Product Safety Program, which aims to raise the level of items conformity in the Saudi market to 80 percent by 2020,” he said.
Teresa Moreira, head of competition and consumer policies in the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said the exchange of information and consultations between the member states are key elements in ensuring best practice in consumer product safety.
She outlined UNCTAD’s role in helping developing countries and countries with economies in transition to implement the UN international control program.
Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of delegation of the EU in Saudi Arabia, said that the Kingdom’s strong system of product safety increased consumer confidence.
He reviewed the EU’s efforts in the field of product safety, including a rapid alert system concerning dangerous non-food products.
The alert system helps the EU and the European economic zone to exchange information on dangerous products seized in their markets, he said.


Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

Updated 19 May 2019
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Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

RIYADH: The Halat Ammar Customs on the Kingdom’s northwestern border prevented two attempts to smuggle a quantity of 184,737 Fenethylline tablets, also known by the brand name of Captagon.
The pills were discovered hidden on two buses that were transporting passengers to the Kingdom’s holy sites.
Mohammed Qaisi, the customs general manager, said the first bus was carrying 47 passengers and after the customs procedures were finalized and the passengers were processed, a bag containing 100,000 tablets was found.
“The narcotics were hidden in an artistic way and were placed inside the bag’s lining,” he said.
Qaisi also said the second attempt was thwarted in a similar way. The other bus was transporting 31 passengers, on which a total of 84,737 Captagon pills were seized.
Saudi Arabia usually witnesses a rise of smuggling attempts during the Umrah and Hajj seasons, as they are exploited by smugglers trying to transport narcotics and other contraband. 
Saudi Customs said it is exerting great efforts and working with all its human and technical capabilities to prevent the entry of illegal substances.