UNCTAD analysis shows that a 10 percent increase in food prices would lead to a decrease in the income of the poorest five percent of families, roughly equivalent to the amount that families normally spend on health care.
When consumers try to reduce their spending, they will pay a high price if they buy a product that is cheaper, but not safe. It United States reported 43,000 deaths and 40 million injuries per year are related to consumer products, at an annual cost of more than $3,000 per capita.
“Governments should strive to continue and succeed in their long-term mission to protect their consumers, a mission of new relevance today,” said UNCTAD Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan at the organization intergovernmental meeting on consumer protection held on 18 and 19 July.
Threats across borders
Keeping consumers safe is generally a top priority for governments around the world. UNCTAD research shows with a network of developed laws and standards that promote product safety.
While more developed countries have implemented product safety frameworks, including legislation, enforcement agencies, recall mechanisms and communication campaigns, developing countries with weaker systems, UNCTAD said, are less able to regulate the specter of unsafe products.
Therefore, more international cooperation is needed to improve product safety for all.
In 2020 UNCTAD adopts its first recommendations on product safety. It aims to curb the flow of unsafe products traded internationally, by strengthening ties between consumer product safety authorities and increasing the sensitivity of businesses and consumers.
“UNCTAD’s recommendations offer great potential for protecting consumers in my country and yours, if implemented on a broad scale,” said Alexander Hoehn-Saric, chair of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. “By working together, we can improve product safety for all of our consumers.”
UNCTAD says consumers’ vulnerability is increasing because they may not be aware that health or safety requirements differ from country to country and may assume that all products sold online are safe.
Because consumers often underestimate the risk and may decide to buy the cheapest product because of financial need.
“Product safety is one of the main pillars or drivers of consumer confidence,” said Helena Leurent, director general of Consumers International, “the lack of consumer understanding is a substantive challenge,” she added.
Based on UNCTAD World Consumer Protection Map60 percent of countries lack experience in cross-border enforcement on consumer protection.
“Most countries in Africa do not have the capacity or experience to deal with the distribution of unsafe products,” said Willard Mwemba, CEO of the COMESA Competition Commission, “but regional efforts can build on that capacity and benefit all participating countries.”
High-level officials participating in the UNCTAD meeting agreed that preventing the cross-border distribution of consumer products known to be unsafe is a priority for countries, as it can increase consumer confidence and promote sustainable economic development.
Cost of living crisis hits the poorest, warns UNCTAD
Source link Cost of living crisis hits the poorest, warns UNCTAD