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China ready to cooperate on product safety

Sydney, September 6, 2007

Chinese President Hu Jintao said on Thursday that China is ready to boost international cooperation to ensure its export products met appropriate safety standards.

Chinese products have come under intense scrutiny over safety concerns in a number of countries in recent months, prompting recalls of products, including toys and toothpaste.

"To further increase product quality and food safety is actually a common task facing the whole international community," Hu said, in a rare appearance at a news conference at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

"The Chinese side is willing and ready to work together with the international community to step up cooperation in quality inspections and examinations and further deepen mutually beneficial economic cooperation and trade," he said.

China has blamed the international media for fanning the flames of panic over Chinese products. Beijing says the vast majority of Chinese exports are safe and even rejected a handful of shipments of US products saying they did not meet standards.

In an interview in Washington on Wednesday, a senior Bush administration official lamented that China was spending its time hunting for problems in US goods to turn the tables, rather than constructively engaging Washington on improving its shaky export safety record.

US Agriculture Department Undersecretary Mark Keenum said meetings last week made little progress on the food and import safety front, which may bode poorly for cabinet-level talks that will bring a host of US officials to Beijing in December.

Next week, China will send a mission to Washington for annual talks on food safety.

Answering a question from a Chinese reporter during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Hu said China took international concerns over product safety very seriously and had taken a number of steps to ensure quality.

"We have conducted very serious investigations into this matter and if there is any wrongdoing proven on the part of the Chinese companies, we have already held those Chinese companies involved accountable according to law," he said.

"The Chinese side has also adopted a number of important measures to improve product quality and food safety ... we are also making efforts to improve the legal and regulatory framework in this regard." - Reuters




Tags: China | Safety | Hu | product |

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