US To Open Consumer Products Safety Office in China

David Griffith’s Note: we recently did a show about product safety on The Asian Business Hour.  This is encouraging news that the US and China are cooperating so closely on product safety issues.

By ALEXA OLESEN, Associated Press – January 10, 2011

BEIJING – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission will set up its first office outside the United States in China in a bid to reduce the amount of dangerous products reaching the American market.

Commission head Inez Tenenbaum told reporters Monday the “history-making” office also aims to make it easier for the U.S. to raise concerns with the Chinese government about product safety problems, such as faulty drywall and toxic metals in toys.

“Rather than rely on recalls to help us enforce our standards in the United States, (we will) move toward being more proactive and prevent problems from occurring in the first place,” said Tenenbaum. “By having a proactive preventative posture, we can reduce the number of recalls and keep our consumers safe and also prevent the loss of revenue and damage to a manufacturer’s brand.”

Tenenbaum said choosing China as the commissions first overseas location made sense because 45 percent of the consumer products and 90 percent of all toys sold in the United States come from China and Hong Kong.

China has been working to improve foreign consumer confidence in its exports after a series of food and product safety scandals, such as tainted fish and the use of lead-based paints on toys and other goods.

The CPSC office, located within the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, will have just two employees to start, an attache and a safety specialist, who will work with their Chinese counterparts and help educate Chinese manufacturers about American product standards, Tenenbaum said.

U.S. recalls of Chinese products have fallen, from 230 in 2009 to 220 last year, signaling improvements in China’s manufacturing oversight, Tenenbaum said. But concerns remain about Chinese lead-tainted products, poorly designed toys with small parts that could choke children, counterfeit electrical products, and children’s clothes that have dangerous drawstrings or are made with flammable material.

Tenenbaum was to meet later Monday with officials from one of China’s main product safety bodies, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Investigation and Quarantine, and said she would raise two major consumer product issues in the meeting.

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One Response to “US To Open Consumer Products Safety Office in China”

  1. Sam Blank Says:

    Please contact me, I am interested to get in contact with the office in Beijing also an attorney who is currently working with the organization.

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