Textile dealers are being asked to measure up to new rules imposed by authorities on January 1. The UAE has implemented the International System of Units (SI) which replaces Imperial measurements such as foot, inch and yard with the metric system in the textile trade under the national system of measurement and calibration, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) said. Abdullah Al Muani, Acting Director General of ESMA, said the conversion of unit sales used in textile trade is an important step towards unifying the units of measurement used in the UAE, making these consistent with the SI. He added that the new system was approved by Cabinet and will be the exclusive basis of the legal units of measurement in the country.
The ESMA top official demanded that fabric and textiles suppliers and merchants must comply with the new system by using the metre as a unit instead of the yard. “The new system is part of ESMA’s efforts to protect consumers’ rights and ensure better practices as per approved standard specifications in order to stimulate economic growth,” he said in a statement.
Raju Motwani, India, Manager of Neha Textiles in Satwa, said the change is minimal but welcomed. “To tell you the truth, we will not notice such a big change when it comes to prices. Profit might decrease at first given that we used to sell a yard for example for 18 dirhams and now we have to sell a metre for the same price when a meter is 10 centimeters more than a yard. That’s a small loss. In terms of changing the measurement from yards to meters, it isn’t difficult, I will get used to it but it is actually better because everyone in the region uses the metric system. It is now very helpful that we are using metres even though customers are used to yards.” S.P. Phulwani, Indian, Manager of Sultan Hassan Tahrir Textile Trading said Dubai joins the region’s use of metric. “We can get fined for dealing in yards since the rule is effective as of today. Again the measurement has changed from yards to meters because GCC countries and worldwide use meters but it was only Dubai where yards was being used. So now the whole region will use meters.” Nari Sobhani, Indian, Shop Manager for Regal General Trading, said it will have a small impact. “The difference in size is a 10 per cent loss for us so we increased the price of some items by five per cent and other items by seven per cent so it isn’t a total loss for us. A lot of Arab customers still ask in yards, so it will take some time for people to get used to asking for measurements in meters. To fix the problem, we are now buying in meters so we can sell in meters without any losses. Our old stock, as I told you, we sell five to seven per cent higher which means we only lose a small percentage rather than the whole ten per cent.” ESMA’s Al Muani, meanwhile, said the shift followed the UAE’s introduction of litre instead of gallon as a unit of measurement for fuel in 2010. The new move, he said, is part of the efforts to build in the UAE infrastructure based on best international practices in order to fulfil the requirements of World Trade Organization – Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO-TBT). He said the authorities distributed posters last week to all dealers and shops selling fabrics and to place the posters in visible locations around their shops for consumers to see. The posters inform the consumers and traders that the sale of fabrics and advertising their prices must not be based on yards.