Muscat: Oman's Consumer Protection Agency data show that in the first nine months of this year, out of about 55,000 fake automobile parts which were confiscated, approximately 70 per cent came from the United Arab Emirates.
The statistics also show that the counterfeit goods in Oman have increased by nine per cent compared to the first nine months of 2011. High on the list are automobile fake parts, electronic games and medicines, according to the official data.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industries data shows that car agencies such as Japanese car manufacturers, Toyota, Nissan and Honda, which are the biggest target of fake parts, spend an average of RO3 million annually on advertisements to warn motorists about the dangers of using counterfeit spare parts.
"The fake parts are danger to drivers and I am sure it contributes to the poor road accident record we have here in Oman," Ghulam Al Balushi, an authorised agent of Japanese car parts, told Times of Oman.
The fake parts arrive in Oman mostly from the borders and sea, according to the Consumer Protection Agency. The Sultanate shares three borders with the UAE.
The northern region of Musandam is also a target of traffickers in counterfeit goods, according to traders. Musandam's biggest town, Khasab, faces the open sea in the Strait of Hormuz, which also provides quick access to other Gulf countries, apart from the UAE.
"This region (Musandam) is a major distributing point of counterfeit business because of its strategic coastal location. It is very difficult to control all the boats that arrive here. Most of them come here in the night when police detection is very difficult," Khanfar Al Omar, a trader based in Khasab, said.
In Oman, counterfeiting crimes carry a minimum three months and maximum two years prison sentence and a fine of RO2,000.
According to Consumer Protection Agency, over 150 retail shops were raided nationwide in the period between January and June this year but the agency did not say how many arrests were made.
Consumers say they are saving more than 50 per cent if they buy fakes instead of genuine goods. "I cannot afford original car parts. Replacements are much cheaper and they work as good as genuine ones. The solution is for them to reduce the prices of original parts to make them affordable," Laila Abduladhim, a jewellery saleswoman, told Times of Oman.