Product safety makes good business sense

Updated: 2014-06-28 07:16

By Neven Mimica (China Daily)

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This is my first visit to China as the European Union's commissioner for consumer policy representing more than half a billion consumers from what is still the largest integrated market in the world. It is a market with no internal barriers and one set of rules and standards, a market which China greatly benefits from, as does the EU from the Chinese market. Every single day we trade goods valued at 1 billion ($1.36 billion).

The Chinese economy has grown beyond all recognition over the past 30 years. This is a monumental achievement, but one which also has created huge challenges. The role of the consumer is changing in China, as evidenced from the increasing demand for safe products.

Thus, as business globalizes, with design from one continent, production in another and distribution and marketing skills from a third, we are also seeing a globalization of consumer interests. We are all consumers, we all want to be safe and we also want our families to be safe.

Last week, the fourth trilateral summit on consumer product safety was held in Brussels, bringing together the EU, China and the United States. The summit was a clear demonstration that product safety is no longer a national or regional issue; it is a global issue.

The three sides share much common ground based on the view that the safety of consumer products is of utmost importance. We agreed to work together in a number of areas, including deepening dialogue, sharing experiences and communicating more effectively with consumers and producers.

My visit to China is a concrete follow-up to the meeting in Brussels. I met with Zhi Shuping, director of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine; Zhang Yong, head of China Food and Drug Administration; and Zhang Mao, director of State Administration for Industry and Commerce (whom I also met in Brussels last week); as well as Wang Zhongfu, president of China Consumers Association. My aim is to see how we can best work together to improve product safety.

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