The United Nations adopted eight Consumer Rights in 1985 as follows:
(1) The Right to be Chosen.
(2) The Right to be informed.
(3) The Right to Safety.
(4) The Right to be Heard
(5) The Right to Satisfaction of Basic Needs.
(6) The Right to Redress.
(7) The Right to Education.
(8) The Right to Healthy and Sustainable Environment.
In 2007, ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP) was officially founded with a view to protecting consumers and carrying out consumer protection activities advancedly and Myanmar became ACCP member since then. There are three Working Groups under this Committee such as Working Group on Rapid Alert System and Information Exchange, Working Group on Cross Border Consumer Redress and Working Group on Training and Education. The area that the committee undertakes will be food, drug, consumer redress, product safety, data protection, labelling, advertising, banking and investment, Insurance and Consumer Credit.
The work of the first Working Group is concerned with Rapid Alert System of Notification and Information Exchange of Unsafe products in ASEAN through National Focal Points. The work of the second Working Group is concerned with consumer education and awareness in order to protect consumers’ rights fully.
The Ministry of Commerce is the National Focal Ministry for consumer protection. Moreover, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology are also carrying out their own consumer protection activities. The Ministry of Commerce is working in coordination with other relevant ministries for emergence of main consumer protection law, carrying out consumer redress and consumer education and awareness. On the other hand, the ministry has submitted the Contact Persons for three Working Groups under ACCP in order to implement ACCP work plan.
In ASEAN, those which do not have consumer protection laws have related laws such as food law, drug law, Trade name and Description Act. In Myanmar, related consumer protection laws are The National Food Law (1997), The National Drug Law (1992), The Traditional Drug Law (1996), Electronic Transaction Law (2004) and Financial Institution of Myanmar (1990).
In ASEAN, the products that require deep attention for product safety include food, drug, cosmetics, medical equipments, household products and the relevant ministries also examine imports and exports of the goods to be in line with required standards. In Myanmar, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Ministry of Health is responsible for safety of food, drug, cosmetics, medical equipments and household products. It issues worldwide FDA certificate for food and drugs, takes samples of products in the market and declares those which are not fit for consumption and takes relevant measures. Then the Ministry of Industry (1) takes care for the safety of electronic users by manufacturing standardized electronics. The Ministry of Commerce also supervises the issuance of export and import licenses by checking the recommendations from relevant ministries, standardization, price and trademark.
It is needed to undertake Consumer education and awareness activities effectively so as to protect consumers fully. In ASEAN, ministries are working in coordination with associations for consumer education activities. In Myanmar, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Forestry and the Ministry of Science and Technology are carrying out their own consumer education plans. The Ministry of Commerce is also carrying out consumer education activities via journals, website, training courses and seminars.