Abu Dhabi, UAE, November 16, 2017: The Steel Alliance Against Counterfeiting (SAAC), a non-profit industry initiative of 18 reputable manufacturers of steel tubular products, organized an open conference during ADIPEC gathering notably EPC contractors, distributors, utilities and customs. It was the opportunity to sum up the results of the SAAC members joint efforts and discuss further steps to effectively counter the use of fake steel products in the region. The SAAC members also presented anti-counterfeit measures for the main stakeholders of oil and gas industry, including end-users, governmental officials and media.
Over the course of two years, the SAAC has been actively promoting the responsible use of steel products to safeguard lives and the environment. The recent study on the use of counterfeit products in GCC commissioned by the Alliance showed that more than half of the industry (53 per cent) has personally come across fake products during day-to-day operations and supports the tightening of the control of steel products' import from certain markets (79 per cent). The announcement of the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code this year is a crucial step towards increasing the level of quality standards in the safety of building materials, design and construction, as well as regulating the responsibilities of stakeholders during project execution. The SAAC also welcomes the implementation of the GCC Trade Mark Law which will strengthen border protection and provide for more stringent sanctions of counterfeiters.
The SAAC actively cooperates with governmental officials, distributors, EPC contractors and end-users in the GCC, as well as on a global level. As part of its efforts to raise awareness among the international community on the safety risks resulting from the illicit traffic and use of counterfeit tubular products, Vallourec, one of the SAAC initiators, participated as a panelist speaker at high-level meetings co-hosted by Interpol such as the Annual IP Crime Conference held at the United Nations Headquarters (August 2017, New York) and the Regional IP Crime Conference, Middle East and North Africa (November 2017, Dubai).
Rising stakeholder awareness about the verification and protection of genuine products is a key priority for the SAAC. During the year, reputable manufacturers have implemented new anti-counterfeiting solutions intended to mitigate the risks of using fake products, and gave training workshops for their introduction. During the SAAC open conference, Samuel Lecerf, QHSE and Industrial Excellence Director from Vallourec, presented Valguard, an innovation enabling users of Vallourec tubes to verify the authenticity of Mill Test Certificates and individual tubes. Mannesmann Stainless Tubes GmbH provides the additional service of checking the genuineness of each inspection certificate via scanning printed QR-code. Earlier this year, Interpipe implemented the online verification of the origin of pipe products by scanning the QR code on the bundle labels.
Anaïs Eiden, Group Intellectual Property Legal Manager, Vallourec, said: “The risks arising from counterfeiting are manifold and put the whole sector at stake; EPC contractors, manufacturers and final-customers end up deploying fake tubular products in critical installations such as oil refineries, pipelines, power plants, FPSOs. Accidents caused by sub-standard counterfeit tubular products can strongly impact the environment and endanger human lives. Fatal incidents have already occurred. All involved stakeholders, from the private and the public sector, have a collective responsibility to take the adequate measures to fight against the traffic and use of counterfeit pipes for the sake of safety.”
Andrey Burtsev, Commercial Director for the Middle East, Africa and Asia markets, Interpipe, underlined: “Our overriding priority is to enhance the level of responsibility of those who choose materials and interact with it after supply and during operation. As a manufacturer, we provide all available preventive and defensive measures. Firstly, we guarantee a high level of quality attested by international standards and annual audits, develop secured verification of products and support customers with full-cycle service and check of products' origin. Secondly, we advocate company reputation in the legal field. To accomplish this goal during the last year, Interpipe registered its trademark in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Introducing such measures is part of our social responsibility, so we call on contractors and consultants to follow a responsible approach as well.”
The Steel Alliance Against Counterfeiting urges all actors of the market to join the fight against fake to protect their own citizens and their local economy.