U.S. and China to hold product safety talks
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chinese officials will visit Washington next week for product safety talks with their U.S. counterparts, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday as Americans faced another recall of Chinese-made toys.
The long-scheduled Biennial Sino-US Consumer Product Safety Summit, which follows an inaugural 2005 round in Beijing, comes after months of product recalls and discoveries of unsafe imports from China.
"Both sides will be talking about how best to protect consumers from unreasonable risks and the best efforts to implement U.S. safety standards for the products that are being manufactured in China," said CPSC spokeswoman Julie Vallese.
The Sept 10-11 talks will cover compliance issues with U.S. safety standards in toys, electrical goods, cigarette lighters and fireworks -- product areas where safety compliance programs were agreed in the 2005 talks, she said.
On Tuesday, Mattel Inc said it would recall more than 800,000 toys globally that contain intolerably high levels of lead. This was the latest in a spate of Chinese-made toy recalls -- including three by industry leader Mattel -- and included three Fisher-Price toy models and eight Barbie playsets.
Some Chinese officials have accused the United States government and international media of hyping the danger from China's products or of unfairly tarring China over what is a global problem.
Vallese said this was not the case.
"We haven't singled China out," she told reporters, adding that the CPSC, an independent government agency, has similar safety coordination with 10 other big U.S. trade partners, including Mexico, India and Canada.
Because of China's role as the single largest source of manufactured imports "the concentrated effort of providing technical education as well as basic U.S. law education has seemed of utmost importance," Vallese said.
Next week's summit will be headed by CPSC acting chairman Nancy Nord and Wei Chuanzhong, vice minister of China's General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), she said.