What is ACCP ?
ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP) is a newly established sectoral body, and will be faced with extensive and complex work programmes. Specifically, the main areas of capacity building needs at the regional and national levels will have to be identified, prioritised and addressed.
Consumer protection is an essential tool in building up a people-oriented ASEAN Community. ASEAN has been more mindful that consumer interests and welfare have to be taken into account in all measures implemented to achieve an integrated economic region.
Consumer protection laws ensure fair competition and the free flow of correct information in the marketplace. At present, only Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam and Viet Nam have principal consumer protection acts. The remaining ASEAN Member States are planning or are in the process of drafting their consumer protection policies and laws. Meanwhile, consumer protection elements in these countries are covered by other legislations in order to achieve consumer protection objectives.
Consumer protection is a new area of regional cooperation. As initiated under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, the inter-governmental ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Consumer Protection, later renamed as the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP), was established in August 2007. The ACCP, and its three Working Groups, serve as the focal point for the implementation and monitoring of regional arrangements and mechanisms on, and to foster the sustainable development of, consumer protection in ASEAN.
In order to steer the implementation of initiatives and commitments under the AEC Blueprint, a strategic approach towards consumer protection has been adopted by the ACCP. This approach contains policy measures and detailed priority actions with specific timeframes for implementation, including the development of a:
- Notification and information exchange mechanism by 2010.
- Cross border consumer redress mechanism by 2015.
- Strategic roadmap for capacity building by 2010.
Three Working Groups of ACCP
At its 2nd Meeting in August 2009, the ACCP discussed, considered and endorsed the Terms of Reference (TORs) and work programmes of all three ACCP Working Groups. These work programmes form the basis for the ACCP’s overall work plan for 2010-2011. These initiatives include:
A. Development Of A Notification And Information Exchange Mechanism
The notification and information exchange mechanism on unsafe products in AMSs (ASEAN Member States) cover all consumer products with the exceptions of foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, health supplements, traditional medicines, cosmetic products and medical equipment. The initiative would focus on
- The ASEAN-wide exchange of information on the recall of unsafe products officially announced by AMSs; and
- Raising consumer awareness on those unsafe products in AMSs. Indonesia, as the Chair of the Working Group on Rapid Alert System & Information
- Exchange, has submitted the draft guidelines for notification of recalled products to ACCP and is currently consolidating inputs from AMSs. The final draft of the guidelines would be considered at the next ACCP meeting in June 2011.
B. Development Of A Cross Border Consumer Redress Website
Malaysia, as the Chair of the Working Group on Cross Border Consumer Redress, is in the final stage of developing a comprehensive website on cross border consumer redress for the ASEAN region. This website will serve as the main reference point for matters pertaining to consumer redress, including:
- Information on basic cross border redress mechanism (handling complaints).
- Information on focal point for consumer redress in each AMS.
- Information on online/hotline access to cross border redress mechanism (handling complaints).
- Information related to ACCP. The website is expected to be operational by the end of March 2011.
C. Development And Implementation Of A Capacity Building Road map
In August 2009, the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC) took the initiative to submit a project proposal to the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Programme Phase II (AADCP II) on the development of a capacity building roadmap on consumer protection for AMSs. Subsequently, this project was endorsed in October 2009 and is currently in the final stage of completion.
The project, under the title “Road-mapping Capacity Building Needs in Consumer Protection in ASEAN”, will help to improve significantly the knowledge, understanding and capabilities of AMSs, ACCP members and ASEC staff on both substantive and operational aspects and priorities in consumer protection.
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ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP) is a newly established sectoral body, and will be faced with extensive and complex work programmes. Specifically, the main areas of capacity building needs at the regional and national levels will have to be identified, prioritised and addressed. Read More…