While the Myanmar Consumer Protection Law 2014 (CPL) was enacted over three years ago, its enforcement is starting to pick up in 2017 with almost 50 cases reported to the Consumer Protection Central Committee (Central Committee) in the last year. Another enforcement agency, the Food and Drug Administration Department (FDA) also recently announced its intention to actively commence investigations and unannounced reviews of compliance with food labelling provisions, which include fines or even imprisonment for repeat offenders. Further, an active non-Government organisation, Myanmar Consumers Union (MCU), has recently launched a website and mobile application with the assistance of USAID. The website and application provide a simple method for processing consumer complaints in either Myanmar or English languages. MCU then submits the complaint information to the Central Committee where it considers relevant.
Myanmar's Union Tax Law 2017 was published last week and will commence operation on 1 April 2017. There are some significant changes relating to the special commodities tax and commercial tax. There are no significant changes to income tax.
The law implements both consumer safety standards for the manufacture of goods, and also consumer protection measures relating to the advertising and promotion of goods and services. In particular, businesses should be aware that consumers have the right to:
- Purchase safe goods and services
- Rely on information that the manufacturer provides on the label, in particular in relation to ingredients, health standards, or date of production
- Receive goods or services to the value, quality, volume, style etc. purchased
- Receive goods or services on the basis of the terms or conditions stated by the manufacturer
- Access complete and correct information about goods or services being purchased
- Rely on the pricing (especially promotional) and content information contained in advertising produced by a manufacturer or supplier (essentially provisions against false and misleading advertising)
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