Describes the country's standards landscape, identifies the national standards and accreditation bodies, and lists the main national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies
Last Published: 8/13/2019

Overview

The UAE established the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) as its sole national standardization body in 2001 under UAE Law No. 28/2001.  ESMA develops, provides and adopts national standards which are prepared by its technical committees at the request of the government, industry, and consumers.  It is important for U.S. industry through associations and individual companies to proactive engage ESMA as it develops and implements new standards. 

In general, standards developed by ESMA should reference existing international and regional standards, the latter defined as GCC/Gulf Standards Organization.  Drafts are circulated to relevant bodies for comments.  There is no central body that coordinates preparation of technical regulations in the UAE.  These may be developed by ESMA, initially in the form of a standard and then made mandatory or may be devised directly by a Ministry; all technical regulations are approved by Cabinet decision for legal implementation.  ESMA monitors the application of standards and technical regulations and runs the Emirates Conformity Assessment Scheme (ECAS).  This program determines whether imports meet national or international standards for products.  ESMA also runs the Emirates National Accreditation Scheme (ENAS) which accredits conformity assessment bodies and oversees the Emirates Quality Mark (EQM).  The EQM is a mark of conformity that is given after a product review by the Conformity Affairs Department. 

ESMA is an active member in many international and regional authorities and organizations related to the fields of standardization, metrology, conformity and accreditation, such as the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), World Trade Organization (WTO), the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO), the Standardization Organization for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GSO), the International Organization for Legal Metrology (OIML), and the International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF). 

UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri, is the ESMA Chairman of the Board, and ESMA reports directly to the UAE cabinet.  ESMA is managed day-to-day by a Director General.  ESMA’s Director General manages the organization, as well as its information center, technical office, and accreditation and technical committees.  The national and emirate level governments, regulatory bodies, and professional associations also review standards requirements.  ESMA provides up-to-date information on standardization and relevant activities and stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels through the information center.  To promote transparency and industry and stakeholder input, 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 products and lubricants, metrology, and information technology.  ESMA ensures consumers safety and environmental protection while supporting the UAE economy through the implementation of UAE standards.  ESMA is the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) inquiry point in the UAE, and a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s standardization organization, the Gulf Standards Organization (GSO).  ESMA also functions as the National Accreditation Body to accredit testing and calibration laboratories and certification bodies. 

Input to ESMA Standards

Companies and organizations can engage with ESMA on draft standards.  ESMA has told U.S. government representatives that they would like to see even greater engagement by U.S. standards development organizations, and a March 2019 trade mission of U.S. standards development organizations was well received by ESMA.  In general, comments on draft standards notified to the WTO are accepted for 60 days. U.S. standards development organizations may find it advantageous to build relationships with ESMA leadership and its technical committees to ensure their thoughts are considered early in the drafting process.
 

WTO member countries are required to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other Member countries.  American businesses can easily monitor these submissions via “Notify U.S.”, a free, web-based service that offers an opportunity to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations. Register online at http://www.nist.gov/notifyus/.

The U.S. government works with ESMA to help ensure adopted standards do not act as technical barriers of trade to U.S. products.  During 2018, the U.S. did not engage in any formal WTO TBT cases with the UAE.  The U.S. Government did submit comments to the UAE on draft regulations via the Inquiry Point and raised occasional questions about draft regulations at WTO TBT Committee meetings. 

Industry concerns related to ESMA and standards in the UAE are reported in the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual “National Trade Estimate”; those concerns can be read on page 501 at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/2019_National_Trade_Estimate_Report.pdf.

ESMA Organizational Structure

ESMA is headquartered in Abu Dhabi and maintains a branch office in Dubai where its Director General is located.  ESMA has formed four major divisions/departments within its organization, including standards, accreditation, conformity, and metrology.

ESMA Organizational Structure
ESMA Organization Chart (Source: ESMA Website)

Conformity Assessment and Product Certification

ESMA’s conformity assessment department is responsible for implementing UAE regulations according to product certification schemes defined in ISO 17067 as Type Approval and Full Quality Assurance Scheme.  Certificates of Conformity are issued for products that comply with regulations/scheme and National or GSO standards.  Whenever these standards are not available, ESMA uses international or foreign standards suitable to the UAE environmental conditions.  
Emirates Conformity Assessment Scheme (ECAS).

In 2004, the UAE introduced a mandatory regulatory program, the Emirates Conformity Assessment Scheme (ECAS) under which ESMA monitors industry compliance with UAE standards in order for goods (both imported and domestic) to be sold in the country. Initially, ECAS only applied to items such as textiles and building materials. In June 2018, the UAE expanded the scope of ECAS to include agricultural products, such as dairy and juice products. 

ECAS procedures and guidelines explain the steps required for compliance, how certificates of conformity can be obtained, and the requirements related to the self-declaration and registration processes.  ESMA can provide comprehensive details on the scope of products regulated under the ECAS and can be contacted for any clarification concerning regulated products using the customer care email: customercare@esma.gov.aeFurther information on ECAS can be found at https://www.esma.gov.ae/en-us/Services/Pages/ECAS.aspx.

Accreditation

Emirates National Accreditation System (ENAS)
To assess the conformity of products to relevant standards, the UAE relies on several Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs), or independent bodies that are accredited to perform conformity assessments by ESMA’s Accreditation Department.  ESMA’s Accreditation Department accredits CABs through the Emirates National Accreditation System, ENAS.  Once ESMA determines that CABs can perform specific tasks described in an accreditation scope document they are granted accreditation certifications to execute those tasks.  ESMA accredits testing and calibration labs, inspection bodies, product certification bodies, and more.  Further information about ENAS is available at http://www.enas.gov.ae/en-us/ENAS/Pages/About-ENAS.aspx. 

Starting in February 2019, all medical laboratories operating in the UAE will have to adhere to mandatory new regulations issued by ESMA.  The technical requirements document for the accreditation of medical laboratories were prepared by a qualified technical team in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council[1].

Laboratories

ESMA supervises and manages the scheme in addition to monitoring the laboratories performance to support all the Scheme's requirements.  The approved laboratories are those:

  • Accredited by national recognized organizations

  • Approved by the authority based on evaluating their capabilities

  • Accredited by the national accreditation body

  • Other laboratories nominated by the manufacturers

Publication of Technical Regulations

The interested companies can find a list of regulated products at: 
https://www.esma.gov.ae/en-us/ESMA/Pages/Laws-and-Legislations.aspx.
The national standards are numbered and published on the official gazette link: https://www.ecouncil.ae/en/Official-Gazette/Pages/default.aspx and can be downloaded from the Standards Store: https://www.esma.gov.ae/en-us/Services/Pages/Purchase-Standards.aspx.

Labeling and Marking 

Labeling requirements in the UAE apply to all regulated products.  Specific labelling requirements are stated in the regulation and/or the applicable standards.  All warning labels on toys are required to be in Arabic or in Arabic and English.  Cigarette packages require a special health warning in Arabic.  ESMA has released labeling requirements for energy efficiency for air conditioning units and appliances. 

ESMA implements the Emirates Quality Mark (EQM), a certificate valid for three years that indicates conformity granted to products that comply with relevant UAE national standards, regional (GCC/GSO) and/or international standards and are manufactured under an effective Quality Management System.   The license to use the Emirates Quality Mark involves a comprehensive evaluation of the product as well as the quality system used by the manufacturer in production through testing, inspection.  The EQM is mandatory for bottled drinking water.  Further information on EQM can be found at: http://www.esma.gov.ae/en-us/Services/Pages/Emirates-Quality-Mark.aspx.

UAE Labelling 
ESMA Marks and Labels (Source: ESMA Annual Report 2017)
For instance, ESMA is currently working on updating the requirements of the energy efficiency
label for household appliances such as refrigerators and freezers to reduce the consumption of these appliances to ensure that these products comply with electrical safety standards, energy efficiency.  ESMA has issued 362,710 energy efficiency labels for refrigerators and freezers during the period from February 2018 to February 2019
[2].


Contact Information
Following is the contact address of ESMA’s head office and the various divisions within the organization:
Abu Dhabi:
Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA)
P.O. Box 2166, Abu Dhabi - UAE
Phone:  +971 2 671 1110 | +971 2 676 3743
Fax:  +971 2 671 5999
Email:  uaetbt@esma.gov.ae

Dubai:
Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA)
P.O. Box 48666, Dubai - UAE
Phone:  +971 4 294 9909
Fax:  +971 4 294 4112
Email:  esma@esma.gov.ae

National Accreditation Department
P.O. Box 48666, Dubai, UAE
Phone: +971 4 294 4434
Fax: +971 4 294 4428
Email: accreditation@esma.ae

Conformity Affairs Department
P.O. Box 48666, Dubai - UAE
Phone:  +971 4 295 1626
Fax:  +971 4 294 1898
Email:  conformity@esma.gov.ae

Metrology Department
P.O. Box 48666, Dubai - UAE
Phone:  +971 4 294 4434
Fax:  +971 4 294 4428
Email:  metrology@esma.gov.ae

Related Trade Shows and Exhibitions

Gitex Technology
Date:  October 6-10, 2019
Venue:  Dubai World Trade Centre
Website:  https://www.gitex.com/

The Big 5
Date:  November 25-28, 2019
Venue:  Dubai World Trade Centre
Website:  https://www.thebig5.ae/

Future of Mobility
Date:  November 26-27, 2019
Venue:  TBD (Dubai)
Website:  https://www.mobility-future.com/676/new-node.aspx

SIAL Middle East 2019
Date:  December 9-11, 2019
Venue:  Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center
Website:  https://www.sialme.com/welcome

World Future Energy Summit (WFES)
Date:  January 13-16, 2020
Venue:  Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center
Website:  https://www.worldfutureenergysummit.com/#/

Gulf Food
Date:  February 16-20, 2020
Venue:  Dubai World Trade Centre
Website:  https://www.gulfood.com/

Web Resources

Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (QCC)
Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA)
General Secretariat of the Executive Council

 

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United Arab Emirates Market Access Trade Development and Promotion