Food Safety

Bilateral Cooperation

China

MouSignature of a revised Memorandum of Understanding strengthening bilateral co-operation between the EU and China to enforce product safety standards and strengthen cooperation and exchange of information on food safety: Wei Chuanzhong, Chinese Vice-Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (AQSIQ), on the left, and Meglena Kuneva, EU Consumer Commissioner.

In January 2006, DG SANCO and AQSIQ (the Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) from the People’s Republic of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), establishing a framework for better communication and collaboration between EU and Chinese authorities on general product safety. The MoU specifically seeks to support Chinese authorities in their efforts to ensure product safety, particularly for consumer goods exported to the EU.

The MoU puts in place a number of practical measures, including joint meetings, exchanges of information and follow-up to problems identified. This includes cooperation on tests and exchanges of information on scientific, technical and regulatory matters and emerging issues. One tangible measure under the MoU is that RAPEX (the Rapid Alert System for non-food consumer products) information concerning products of Chinese origin has been made available to AQSIQ (on a read-only basis), thereby allowing China to directly follow up notifications regarding unsafe products. This is essential as more than half of the dangerous consumer products detected in the EU are imported from China. This is partly due to the fact that over the last decade China has become one of the EU's leading trading partners.

Joint Statement on the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding on administrative co-operation arrangement between DG SANCO and AQSIQ Updated 17-11-2008
Consolidated Memorandum of Understanding Updated 24-11-2008

The "RAPEX-CHINA" system

The "RAPEX-CHINA" system facilitates regular and rapid transmission of data between the EU and China. DG SANCO provides the Chinese authorities with the information on consumer products originating from China that have been identified as dangerous and consequently banned or withdrawn from the European market by EU Member States' authorities and notified to the European Commission via RAPEX.

AQSIQ investigates all the notifications it receives and, when necessary, adopts measures which prevent or restrict further export of the specific hazardous products to the EU.

The summary analysis of the reports from AQSIQ is available here: summary analysis Updated 14-11-2008
Roadmap for safer toys

In September 2006 the European Commission, (represented by DG ENTR (the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry) and DG SANCO) concluded an agreement with China (AQSIQ) on a Roadmap for safer toys. The Roadmap aims to ensure that toys exported from China to the EU are safe and outlines a strategy for improving their safety, focusing on training and technical assistance, the exchange of RAPEX information between EU and Chinese authorities, and tracing, feedback and follow-up mechanisms for dangerous products. The Roadmap also puts in place a framework, supported by both the European and Chinese toy manufacturers' associations, for continuous exchanges of information on unsafe toys. It also contains a commitment from AQSIQ to tighten-up the inspection and monitoring of toys exported to Europe.

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Trilateral cooperation

EU, United States, China

High-Level Regulatory EU-China-US Trilateral Meeting

EU-US-China Initiative

A joint EU-US-China Initiative on Consumer Product Safety Compliance took place in the People's Republic of China, from 19-24 September 2008. Product safety is a focal area of concern for the three parties and, in the past years, all have made significant efforts. The parties have now added a tripartite initiative to the already existing and fruitful bilateral mechanisms..

The programme for the September tripartite initiative began with high-level talks on 19 September in Beijing. The European Commission was represented by Mr. Robert Madelin, Director-General for Health and Consumers, who together with members of his delegation, met with Mr. Wei Chuanzhong, Vice Minister of the Chinese Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), and Mrs. Nancy Nord, Acting Chairman of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The joint initiative continued with three one-day training seminars in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai focusing respectively on textiles, toys and electrical appliances. The series of seminars brought together Chinese, EU and US regulators, businesses, standard-makers and test laboratories. The presentations clarified the European and US safety requirements for the selected consumer products with a view to greater understanding of product safety requirements and thereby ensuring safety throughout the entire supply chain. Talks also covered recent developments and best practices in market surveillance and consumer product safety compliance.

Joint Press Statement (17 November 2008)
Press Release: Consumers: European Commission hosts first high level EU-China-US product safety summit (17 November 2008)
MEMO: Consumer Product Safety – a Common Objective (17 November 2008)
MEMO: Questions and Answers: International Product Safety Week and international cooperation on product safety (17 November 2008)
Speech: Meglena Kuneva: "High level EU-China-US Trilateral Summit on Product Safety" (17 November 2008)
Joint statement

Midday Express: Consumer Product Safety – EU-US-China Cooperation (19 September 2008)