Monday, 21 May, 2007 Offbeat
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Chinese Products - to Buy or not to Buy?

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Following numerous health scares reported worldwide, China moved to relieve global anxiety over its exports' safety on Monday. Just recently, U.S. consumers have been alarmed that a lot of pets died after eating Chinese tainted wheat gluten and rice protein. There have also been reports of toxins and disease in other goods exported from China.

Li Chuanqing, a vice-minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine spoke at a forum devoted to the issue. The forum organized in Beijing was co-hosted by the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization. The vice-minister said the Chinese government was seriously preoccupied with consumer safety and worked out startegies to protect product quality, consumers' health and security.

China is the largest exporter of consumer products in the world, with its products sold in every corner of the globe. Meanwhile, millions of fake and substandard goods, from replica watches and luxury handbags to liquor and drugs, are annually produced in China. Back in 2004 the world was terified to find out that in the eastern province of Anhui 13 babies had died after being fed fake baby milk.

Nancy Nord, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission chairwoman, said they would keep under control products exported by foreign manufacturers and make exporters realize their goods must correspond to the U.S. product safety standard system. In his turn, Li Chuanqing said China wanted to cooperate with the rest of the world in dealing properly with quality problems.

Approximately 200,000 human deaths caused by improper use of legitimate drugs are annually registred in China. At least 100 people in Panama died because of a Chinese medicine ingredient, according to a New York Timesreport. It is obvious that China has to face the accute problem of unsteady system of food and medicine inspections. In April, the ruling Communist Party's Politburo met to discuss the issue of improving the system.

Mark Dewar, a board member of the forum's co-hosts, mentioned it was already an importany step forward for China that an international consumer product safety conference was organized in Beijing. He added that China was eager to acquire experience regarding the product quality and consumer safety from other markets represented by the world leading countries.

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