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US official: Chinese exports safe, good quality

Chinese exports to the United States are generally safe and of good quality, a senior US product safety official said in Beijing on Friday.

“Among people who have knowledge of products from China, as a result of their profession, I think there is general acceptance that the overwhelming majority of the products are safe and of good quality and good value,” Richard O’Brien, director of International Programs and Intergovernmental Affairs under the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), told a press conference. On the massive recalls of Chinese toys last summer in the United States due to excessive quantities of lead paint, O’Brien said it was a natural result of an extensive inspection of Chinese toys after the first case was discovered. “Everybody started to check if the same problem existed around themselves you can understand one case led to another and led to another,” he said, adding that he was “pretty optimistic” that the problems had been resolved and US consumers’ confidence in Chinese goods was recovering. “We almost have no toy industry in the United States. If we stop importing toys from China, most toy shelves in US supermarkets will be empty,” said O’Brien, who is on a two-week visit to China.

The CPSC has been cooperating closely with China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), the country’s top quality competition office. The CPSC greatly appreciates the Chinese government’s efforts on product safety improvement, said O’Brien. “We don’t have foreign partners that are so involved in cooperation with us as AQSIQ,” he said, adding that his agency is willing to share its experience and lessons on product safety inspection and the establishment of a nationwide recall system with its Chinese partner.

As an independent federal regulatory agency, CPSC was set up in 1973 to protect the public from risks associated with some 15,000 types of consumer products, covering almost all the products sold in the United States except food, drugs and pharmaceuticals, as well as transportation that requires government registration. The agency also handles recalls of unsafe products. (