In 2001, the UAE has established the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) as its national standardization body under UAE Law No. 28/2001. ESMA serves to develop and adopt standards prepared by its technical committees at the request of governments, industry and consumers. In general, ESMA standards are developed in accordance with existing international and regional standards (Gulf Cooperation Council / Gulf Standards Organization). However, if there is no international standard that applies to a type of goods, ESMA develops its own standard. The draft standard will then be circulated to relevant bodies for input. There is no central body that coordinates the preparation of technical regulations in the UAE. Technical regulations can be developed or designed by the ESMA in a standard that will later be mandatory or can be drafted directly by the Ministry. All technical regulations are approved by cabinet decrees as legal decisions. ESMA monitors the implementation of technical standards and regulations and runs the Emirates Conformity Assessment Scheme (ECAS). This program determines whether the import of a good has met national or international standards. ESMA also operates the Emirates National Accreditation Scheme (ENAS) accrediting conformity assessment bodies. ESMA is a member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) and Standardization Organization for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GSO). ESMA is also an investigative body for Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) in the UAE which is recognized by the World Trade Organization (WTO). ESMA reports directly to the UAE cabinet. ESMA activities are led by a Director General. Governments (national and emirate level), regulatory bodies, and professional associations also review the requirements of the standards issued by the ESMA. The ESMA also functions as a national accreditation body to accredit testing and calibration laboratories and acts as a certification body. In an effort to promote transparency and input from the industry and stakeholders, ESMA has established technical committees in the fields of food products, construction and building materials, electrical and electronic products, chemical and plastic products, mechanical products, petroleum and lubricating products, metrology, and information technology.
The ESMA conformity assessment department is responsible for implementing special programs such as marking and certification of conformity and quality of a product, according to internationally approved methods. Certificates of Conformity are issued for products that comply with both national and GSO standards. In the event that these standards are not available, ESMA uses international or foreign standards suitable for the UAE. ESMA applies ECAS as a system that combines conformity assessment and certification of products in local markets. In addition, exporters can choose to obtain certificates of conformity for their exported goods. Currently, ECAS is applied to a number of products. More information about ECAS can be found at http://www.esma.gov.ae/en-us/Services/Pages/ECAS.aspx. Any proposed additions to the regulated product list will be published at least two months prior to implementation, to allow sufficient time for the assessment as well as due diligence of the product. The ECAS procedures and guidelines describe the steps required for compliance, how a certificate of conformity can be obtained, the requirements associated with the declaration, and the registration process. ESMA can provide full details on the scope of products regulated under ECAS and can be contacted for any clarification regarding the regulated product. In addition, ESMA can issue a formal clarification letter to explain whether a product is regulated or not in ECAS. This letter is valid for a period of one year from the date of issue to prove the status of the product and can be changed if there are changes to the regulated product regulations.
Test reports from an accredited or recognized laboratory must be submitted to the ESMA. These reports must be reviewed and the level of compliance with the standards will also be assessed. If there are some important requirements that are not met, the ESMA will inform the applicant of the relevant standards and / or the steps required to fulfill the essential requirements. These steps also include the type of testing or modification of the product according to the differences observed. The ESMA Laboratory oversees and manages a scheme for monitoring laboratory performance that supports all requirements according to ECAS. An approved laboratory is a laboratory that meets one of the following requirements:
The labeling requirements in the UAE apply primarily to toys, cigarettes and food products. All warning labels on toys must be in Arabic or Arabic and English. Cigarette packs require special health warnings in Arabic. ESMA has released labeling requirements for energy efficiency, specifically for air conditioning equipment. In addition, ESMA implements the Emirates Quality Mark (EQM). EQM is a conformity mark given to products that comply with UAE National Standards, regional (GCC / GSO) and / or international standards and are created by organizations that implement an effective quality management system to ensure ongoing compliance. The stages of obtaining a license to use EQM involve a thorough evaluation of the product as well as the quality system used by manufacturers in production through testing and inspection. More information about EQM can be found at http://www.esma.gov.ae/en-us/Services/Pages/Emirates-Quality-Mark.aspx.