Metric system to be enforced in UAE textile sector from next year.
The resolution, which is part of a wider programme to have a unified national measurement and weighing system on a par with global standards, entered the mandatory phase earlier this year, but ESMA has granted a grace period until this year for merchants to adjust.
"We had a meeting with the union of textile merchants in Dubai, who have requested more time to adjust. Considering their request we have given them until the end of this year and from the beginning of next year the metric system will be strictly enforced," said Engineer Mohammad Ahmad Al Mulla, director of Metrology at ESMA.
Al Mulla added that any violation of the rule will lead to legal consequence for the merchant and violators will be penalised by the court depending on the offence.
ESMA began to impose the metric system of measurement across all sectors of the industry following a cabinet order and has so far successfully converted the usage of feet to metres in land measurement sand gallons to litres in petrol pumps and other markets dealing in liquid commodities.
"The new system is an important step towards unifying the measurements used in the country in line with international practices and standardised units of measurement with the world. SI units that include kilogram, kilometre, litre, centimetre, etc, are the approved units of measurement the world over but unfortunately in our country it wasn't adopted earlier. The metric system is better and helps consumer get the right quality and standads," added Al Mulla.
These new procedures, he added, also reflect the UAE's abidance by its responsibilities as a member of the World Trade Organisation.
"The imperial system of unit which includes yards and gallons is not standardised and it is confusing for consumers so this transformation is part of the efforts made to protect consumers through the guarantee of standards that are recognised all over the globe," he said.
He added that the Federal Law No 28 for 2001 states that the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology is the body responsible for setting up national measurement systems and to monitor the application of the new system.
He said that ESMA, with the help of local authorities and municipalities, has started an awareness campaign about the change in the measurement system and will begin closer monitoring of the markets.
Textile merchants in Dubai and Sharjah have said it will be a little difficult to adjust initially but most said it is not a major issue.
"We buy in yards and we sell in yards, this system has been in practice for long in the UAE and there hasn't been any issue, I don't know why there is a need to change now," said Ganesh Sampat, who has been in the textile business for 40 years.
Echoing his sentiments, Abdul Rahman, who has also been in the textile business for more than three decades, said: "A yard is 90cm and a metre is 100cm and customers will think the prices have gone up when they pay extra for the 10cm, but if it is a law than we have to apply it and with time it will be adjusted."
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