Europe, China sign consumer safety agreement

11/17/2008 | 07:57 PM


Source of Article:

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union and China signed an agreement Monday to cooperate better on consumer safety in the wake of high-profile scares such as contaminated Chinese milk and dangerous toy cars.

Under the agreement, the two sides will more quickly swap information on tainted food and other dangerous goods. The deal also allows for officials from the EU and China to carry out coordinated checks on producers to ensure safety standards are met.

After the signing, top consumer affairs officials from China and the EU were joined by Nancy A. Nord, head of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, to consider further three-way cooperation, including possible common safety standards for toys.

Half of all dangerous products seized by European customs and product safety authorities last year came from China, according to the European Commission, with toys topping the list.

China is the biggest exporter to the 27-nation European Union.

In September, the EU banned imports of any baby food products from China that contain traces of milk in response to a scare over tainted Chinese dairy products.

“This memorandum substantially strengthens the systems of safety controls for product and food safety between the EU and China," said EU Consumer Protection Commissioner Meglena Kuneva. “It provides for more transparency, better monitoring and new possibilities for joint surveillance." - AP



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