News & Media

March 15, 2013
World Consumer Rights Day

On Friday March 15, 2013, on the occasion of the World Consumer Rights Day, the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, organized a seminar under the title “Young Consumers: Rights and Duties”. The General Director of the Ministry of Economy and Trade and Consumer Protection, Mr. Fouad Fleifel, the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Fr. Dr. Joseph Wakim as well as many supervisors and students attended the event.

Following the Lebanese National Anthem, the Academic Secretary of the abovementioned Faculty, Dr. Reine Barbar, inaugurated the seminar by giving a brief overview on the importance of that day.

On behalf of the University President, Rev. Fr. Hady Mahfouz, Rev. Fr. Joseph Wakim welcomed the participants and stated that “The subject of this seminar stimulates the conscience of the consumers of their rights and duties, at the heart of globalization which has swept through the Earth like a hurricane.” He also shed the light on the efforts exerted by Mr. Fleifel in raising awareness among young consumers on the rights and duties, quoting the late President Kennedy: “They are the most important economic group influencing and influenced by almost public and private economic decisions. However, they are the only important group which opinion is not heard.” Also by quoting President Kennedy, Rev. Fr. Wakim enumerated the four fundamental consumer’s rights: the right to security, the right to access information, the right to choose and the right to be heard. Moreover, the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences confirmed that “It is necessary to promulgate firm laws, prepare their implementation projects and ensure the necessary information to the consumers in order to contribute to the creation of competitive markets that cope with the demands of young consumers.”

Then, Mr. Fleifel took the floor and declared that “Protecting consumers is the primary priority at the Ministry of Economy and Trade and is an integral part of its strategy. The Ministry is keen to support trade protection, to respect the demands of the consumer and to ensure the security and quality standards of the consumption products and services. The Ministry is also seeking to collaborate with the civil society, especially with universities in order to undertake specialized field studies and research aiming at ensuring supervision and documentation of the consumption products.” He continued by shedding the light on the importance of the preparation of awareness programs promoting the consumer’s culture and the importance of fighting fraudulent business practices.

He indicated: “The Ministry is focusing on universities and students in order to create associations for consumer protection and to activate the strategic cooperation for the security of the trade environment. We are facing numerous challenges; though, we will overcome them on the long term due to our diligent work and cooperation. Within this framework, the Administration develops a plan, annually, to promote its role and build capacities.” Mr. Fleifel added: “On the level of studies, we are stressing the consolidation of the implementation of the laws and regulations pertaining to consumer protection, and we revise them regularly to ensure their development and modernization in order to cope with the current changes in the field.” On the level of orientation, Mr. Fleifel announced the establishment of orientation workshops targeting production companies and traders, and aiming to help consumers protect their rights and detect fraud. He added: “On the level of awareness, it is necessary to come up with an action strategy to encourage the society to create consumer protection associations. On the level of training, it is necessary to launch an annual training program for supervisors.”

Mr. Fleifel concluded his speech by shedding light on the fact that “Consumers trust is the first step towards their protection. Do not hesitate to share your complaints by contacting the Administration of the Consumer Protection to get answers for your questions.”

Finally, three documentaries on consumer protection were shown. The engineer Mr. Tarek Younes talked about the role of the Ministry in protecting consumer rights and presented the duties of supervisors as well as the sanctions put by the Lebanese law. The supervisors from the Ministry of Economy and Trade Mrs. Maya Assaad and Mrs. Nancy Abou Abboud, USEK graduates, explained about their work and responsibilities.

The seminar was concluded by showing an instructional video on the way of presenting a complaint to the Administration of Consumer Protection, where consumers can provide information on a product sold on the market, which may have a harmful effect on health, by contacting the hotline 1739 and by confidentially providing information related to a bought product: the name of the product, its point of sale and the date of purchase.
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Tel.: (+961) 9 600 000
Fax : (+961) 9 600 100
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