Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr U. Ismayilova / Sale of out of date goods and products of unknown manufacture in Azerbaijan's bazaars is on the agenda. The monitoring of Chinese goods and the modernization of trade and consumer services is in progress.
Trend 's interview with the head of the State Service of Control of the Consumer Market at the Azerbaijani Economic Development Ministry, Khalig Mammadov.
Question: What are the results of the analysis of the quality of goods in Azerbaijan's market?
Answer: There are a plenty of goods of unknown manufacture, as well as out of date goods, in trade places. We carry out analysis every week and have to a certain extent made entrepreneurs store meat and dairy products at the required temperature. The main problem is in bazaars, where we can see un-sterile conditions. We suggest to their owners to invest in modernizing their trade infrastructure to resolve such problems. We have begun checking guarantees given for goods. We have received complaints from customers who have been cheated. When buying something they are given a guarantee which later proves to be false. The State Service is also monitoring clothes bazaars. The monitoring exercises revealed that shops were selling clothes of unknown manufacture or made in China under trademarks of popular European companies, which naturally, affects the price of the product.
Question: How many violations have you already found?
Answer: As a result of the monitoring exercises, fines in the sum of about AZN 62,000 were transferred to the public budget. A total of 1,423 sanctions were imposed due to 232 violations. In the last three months the sale of goods without use-by dates or of unknown manufacture have decreased, but over 4,100 not meeting quality standards and 17,810 products with an expired working life were removed from sale.
Question: Does the State Service have laboratories for analysis to check product quality?
Answer: Yes. We have laboratories in Baku, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Khachmaz, Jalilabad, and Sheki. The labs meet modern standards. They were accredited by the State Standardization, Metrology, and Patent Agency. Since the beginning of the operations of the State Service a total of 287 goods have been examined and 122 of them did not meet quality standards, and 73 have not yet been completely checked. We plan to open another lab by the end of 2008 which will meet European standards. The government has already allotted over AZN 2mln for this purpose and we have commenced negotiations with consultants. The single biggest problem we are facing is the lack of qualified staff.
Question: Does the State Service carry out any work to educate the Azerbaijani population about improving consumer market quality?
Answer: We are carrying out educational work to make the consumer market healthy. We are now publishing booklets, and each weekend we will hold demonstrations in the most active places of trade. The booklets reflect consumer rights. Consumers should demand a quality certificate when buying something, as well as check the use-by date and the place of manufacture. In order to improve quality of service we are also organizing training for 37 sales people, and they will continue next year.
Question: What work is carried out for improvement of the State Service's legislative basis?
Answer: The State Service is now developing the Bill on Trade which will be ready in 60 days. The Bill will be submitted to the Economic Development Ministry and afterwards to the Cabinet for consideration and by the end of the year it will be submitted to Parliament for approval. The Bill envisages protection of consumers and entrepreneurs' rights, as well as price regulation, for an artificial rise in prices in one field affects other fields. The rights pursuit of consumer policy will efficiently entail an increase in the export of Azerbaijani goods to European countries.