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AANZFTA Consumer Affairs Programme Supports the Development of National Product Recall Framework in the Philippines

Philippines , 20 January 2022

Manila, 13-14 December 2021 – In December, 49 participants from the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) - Consumer Protection Group (CPG) and Regional Operations Group (ROG) completed an online training workshop for the development of guidelines on National Product Recall. With heightened concerns relating to the safety of products sold online during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw consumers shopping online more, the Philippines is working to develop national product recall guidelines. The workshop saw Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) experts share experiences with DTI peers in support of effective product recalls in the Philippines. 

The two-day workshop was part of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Consumer Affairs Program’s (CAP) Phase I bilateral technical cooperation activities delivered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), under the auspices of the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP) and in cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat. It is the second bilateral technical assistance activity conducted for the Philippines, following the recent Product Safety and Cyberspace Investigations workshop held on 15–16 November 2021. 

Participants learned about Australia’s experience on product recall design and implementation, as well as monitoring and supplier negotiations.  ACCC product recall experts, including Mr Neville Matthew, General Manager of Risk Management & Policy, Consumer Product Safety Division, shared real-world procedures and examples, including a case study on the ACCC’s design of recall guidelines for suppliers developed in 2021. The ACCC also shared examples of recall notifications, warnings, and language used to inform consumers and online sellers.

His Excellency Steven J. Robinson, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, opened the workshop by highlighting, “this year—2021, we celebrate 75 years of formal
diplomatic relationship between Australia and the Philippines. Over the decades, our relationship has grown, encompassing defence, development, economic, people-to-people and trade links. Our partnership includes cooperation in regional trade, including through the AANZFTA, which continues to bring our countries closer together. We are delighted to bolster our trade and economic cooperation with consumer protection initiatives that will benefit our countries. The ACCC and the AANZFTA CAP continue this “bayanihan”, and I am proud to open this workshop on Product Recall National Guidelines Development.”

After the two-day interactive workshop, 87 per cent of DTI attendees reported that they would refer to the presentation materials in the future when they embark on developing guidelines for National Product Recall. Participants reported that comparing the product recall guidelines of Australia to the Philippines was enlightening and showed what could be achieved in the Philippines environment.  

Atty. Ruth B Castelo, Undersecretary of the Philippines DTI-CPG, delivered the welcome message during the training, saying, “The DTI has yet to come out with national guidelines for suppliers on consumer product recall to reduce risks caused by unsafe products in the market. While our DTI-Bureau of Product Standards provides a process for the recall of certain products covered by the Mandatory Product Certification Schemes, there is a need to create a national product recall framework to address quality and safety concerns and overcome the challenges brought about by the growth of e-commerce. The organisation of this workshop was timely, and the information on the existing mechanisms and international best practices related to product recall would be helpful for DTI.  This is really a relevant exercise and will guide us in developing our own framework”. 

Closing the workshop, Ms Sarah Firdaus, speaking on behalf of Mr Looi Teck Kheong, Head of Competition, Consumer Protection and Intellectual Property Rights Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, observed that, “The AANZFTA CAP continues to push boundaries with workshops for the members of the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP). This workshop supports strategic goal 3 of the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for Consumer Protection 2016-2025 and ongoing work to develop an ASEAN Product Incident Alert System Framework.” 

The AANZFTA CAP Product Recall National Guidelines Development training workshop came about through a bilateral technical cooperation request from the DTI to the ACCC. The CAP team will continue to facilitate bilateral technical cooperation events with the members of the ACCP, building consumer protection in the AANZFTA region, with an outlook to COVID-19 recovery guided by the ASEAN High-Level Principles on Consumer Protection and the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan on Consumer Protection.

For further information, please contact the AANZFTA Support Unit at aanzfta_inquiry@asean.org or the AANZFTA CAP Team at cap@accc.gov.au.