Dubai – MENA Herald: The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai today hosted a workshop on protecting intellectual property and consumer rights for nearly 200 businessmen from Australia and New Zealand. The workshop, organised by the Business Protection section in DED’s Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector, in association with the Australian Business Council in Dubai, was aimed to improve awareness on the rights of trademark owners and ways of doing business in accordance with local regulations in place to reinforce Dubai’s reputation as a business hub.

Held in the presence of Their Excellences Ali Ibrahim, Deputy Director General of DED and Arthur Spyrou, the Australian Ambassador to the UAE and Qatar, the workshop was attended by senior executives from DED and its agencies.

“Australia looks forward to enduring and productive relations with the UAE. There are over 360 Australian-owned businesses in the UAE and the majority of them are in Dubai. The UAE investment in Australia now exceeds AUD 26 billion, which makes the UAE the 10th largest direct investor among countries in the world,” commented the Australian Ambassador.

“The Department of Economic Development in Dubai and its agencies focus on constantly improving the local business environment, enabling the city to be on top of global competitiveness and sustainability rankings. The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection sector specifically works to develop relations with traders and protect consumer rights. This workshop is part of our efforts to address the concerns of businesses and help them apply best practices in business transparency,” said Ali Ibrahim.

“The presence of senior officials from the Department of Economic Development at the workshop underlines our role in facilitating business and commitment to economic development. The officials from our Business Protection section are the best people to explain to you the provisions available for protecting your business, procedures for filing complaints as well as the local and federal laws being followed,” added Ibrahim.

Ibrahim also praised the discussions that took place along the sidelines of the workshop, which he said reflected a high level of interest among the government and private sectors to share information on the administrative and regulatory provisions governing commercial activity, particularly retail sector activity in Dubai.

“Retailing remains a key pillar of Dubai economy, contributing up to 29% of GDP. Dubai’s pre-eminence as a regional and global hospitality and tourism destination, and most importantly as a preferred place to live, owes largely to its vibrant retail sector. Retailing flourishes when investors as well as consumers feel confident, that their investment would bring the best returns. Sustainability in retail sector depends on how well the investor’s intellectual property and the consumer’s rights are protected,” remarked Mohammed Lootah, Executive Director of CCCP.

“The workshop agenda included a special panel discussion in order to identify issues of concern to traders as well as the exchange of experiences and knowledge with the brand owners, particularly those relating to the protection of intellectual property rights and ways to deal with negative phenomena such as commercial fraud and counterfeiting,” added Lootah.

The workshop included a presentation made by Mira Khalid Maamari from the Business Protection section on the role and tasks of the section, procedures to submit commercial complaints, and co-ordination with the relevant regulatory functions. Highlighting improved awareness on business protection mechanisms available in Dubai, she pointed out that the number of consumer complaints received during 2015 increased 59.6%, from the 13,770 in 2014 to 21,896 complaints in 2014, while the number of counterfeit goods seized increased 70% to 63 million pieces in 2015 compared to 37 million in 2014.