China, Japan should team up on product safety

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12 hours ago

TOKYO (AFP) China and Japan should work together to monitor food and product safety, following a recent spate of recalls and contamination scandals, the Chinese government said Friday.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan, Beijing's top economic official, called on the Asian rivals to "have a broader dialogue and cooperation on product control and food safety," writing in the Nikkei business daily.

Ahead of bilateral cabinet-level economic talks in Tokyo on Sunday, he said that China could "learn from Japan, which has extensive experience in managing and overseeing product control and food safety."

Wang, who will lead Beijing's delegation, said China's quality and safety standards lagged behind those of many advanced nations and said cooperation on product control and food safety should be a top agenda item at the talks.

He also called for joint efforts to ensure the safety of products such as machinery, electronics, textiles and chemicals, including through expert exchanges and new certification schemes.

Japan, a densely populated and highly industrialised island-nation, imports 60 percent of its food, the highest rate among rich countries. China is Japan's second largest supplier after the United States.

China's image as a food producer has suffered since a tainted milk scandal last year, in which at least six children died and almost 300,000 were made ill, sparking bans of Chinese dairy products around the world.

Japan in October ordered retailers to pull Chinese green beans off shelves after a woman fell ill from eating a product that contained 34,500 times the legal limit of pesticide.

Ten people were also hospitalised, including a girl who fell into a coma before recovering, after eating Chinese frozen dumplings earlier last year.





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