New standards loom to ensure product safety

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 March, 2008, 12:00am

Premier Wen Jiabao renewed a pledge to improve product safety yesterday as he introduced measures to ensure Chinese-made goods meet international standards.

In yet another attempt to restore confidence in the 'made-in-China label', Mr Wen said all requirements and testing methods for the safety and quality of consumer goods would comply with international standards.

'It is imperative that people feel confident about the safety of food and other consumer goods and that our exports have a good reputation,' Mr Wen told the National People's Congress.

Product quality has been under scrutiny since a string of scandals over potentially deadly levels of toxins in exports ranging from toys to food.

In the latest incident, pesticides detected in frozen dumplings from a Hebei factory have been blamed for making at least 10 people in Japan ill. China said the dumplings were sabotaged, probably in Japan.

Under Mr Wen's proposal, a system involving 7,700 national standards for the safety of food products, drugs and other consumer goods will be put in place this year.

Increased punishment for businesses that violate laws and regulations covering product quality and safety would also be introduced.

'We will improve legal guarantees for product quality and safety,' Mr Wen said. 'We need to promptly enact or revise laws and regulations pertaining to product quality and safety.'

The mainland is expected to enact a Food Safety Law, the first national legislation dedicated to the issue, this year. On January 1, Guangdong became the first province to move on the issue.

Mr Wen also pledged to improve the oversight and control systems for product safety and to monitor the accountability system.

The commitments are among a string of measures Beijing has unveiled to improve product and food safety in the face of rising international pressure on the quality of mainland products. It also launched a four-month product safety campaign in August last year.