Department of Consumer Affairs (DOCA) was organized on April 1st 2016 under the Ministry of Commerce. As the focal organization for consumer protection activities, the department works in cooperation with relevant government ministries, non-governmental consumer organizations, private sector organizations for product safety activities, consumer redress activities and consumer education activities. Myanmar Consumer Protection Commission, and Union Territory, Region, State and District Consumer Affair Committees were also set up in accordance with the law. Consumer Information and Complaint Centers (CICCs) are being established in the Union Territory, Regions and States of Myanmar.
Myanmar first adopted a Consumer Protection Law on the 14 March 2014 (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 10/2014) with a view to protecting the rights of consumers and comprehensively addressing consumer issues in the country. The Consumer Protection Law 2014 was amended in line with international best practices, resulting in the Consumer Protection Law 2019 being enacted on the 15 March 2019 (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 9/2019).
According to the Consumer Protection Law 2019, Myanmar Consumer Protection Commission comprising the Union Minister of the Ministry of Commerce as a Chairman, the Deputy Ministers from the respective Ministries, the Heads of respective government departments and organizations, the representatives from the non-governmental organizations and experts as members was established in accordance with the Union Cabinet’s Executive Order No.59/2019. The Department of Consumer Affairs serves as a secretariat to the Myanmar Consumer Protection Commission.
According to the Law, Myanmar Consumer Protection Commission, the highest authoritative body in Myanmar, responsible for the successful implementation of the objectives of the Consumer Protection Law. The Commission will adopt consumer protection policies, provide recommendations on consumer-related matters to the Cabinet, report to the Cabinet about consumer protection activities, and present work-plans to the Cabinet in case of any special condition and working procedures.
The Headquarter Office of DOCA, and all DOCA Head Offices at the Union Territory, and all Regions and States of Myanmar are responsible for settling consumer complaints through mediation, and they have to submit the results to the relevant Consumer Affairs Committees. According to section 52 of the Consumer Protection Law, Region and State Head Offices has the authority to impose the administrative orders.
In accordance with the Consumer Protection Law, Consumer Affairs Committees could also confer upon an investigative body to investigate and verify the accuracy of information related to the disputed goods or services, as well as the harms to consumers and their properties. If Consumer Affairs Committee finds that the entrepreneur fails to follow one of the provisions contained in Consumer Protection Law, the Committee could impose administrative penalties according to section 53 of the Consumer Protection Law.
In addition, regarding consumer protection, Myanmar works in cooperation with regional and international organizations for consumer protection activities. Department of Consumer Affairs has already drafted the National Consumer Protection Program (2021-2025) with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ). There are five core processes under the program and the strategic action plans designed under each core process are planned to be implemented during 2021-2025.