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China Plans to Send Food and Product Inspectors to US

China plans to send food safety and product quality inspectors to the United States as a reciprocal move to a similar US proposal, a senior Chinese official said in Annapolis, United States on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the fourth round of the China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue, or SED, Li Changjiang, minister of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), said the proposal to send US food safety and product quality inspectors to China was first raised by US Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt at the 3rd SED last December.

"Based on the principal of reciprocity, China plans to station food safety and product quality personnel at its embassy and consulates in the United States at necessary times," he said.

Li said the US and China are processing the plan and China is waiting for a final "go-ahead" signal from US authorities.

Like the previous SED, the issue about food safety and product quality is incorporated into the agenda of the meeting, because the issue is closely related to the healthy development of Sino-US trade, Li said.

The discussions this time focused on the implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed by the US Department of Health and Human Services and AQSIQ last year to enhance the safety of food and feed exported to the United States, according to Li.

The minister is a member of the delegation led by visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan at the ongoing June 17-18 4th round of the SED in Annapolis, Maryland, about a 30-minute drive from Washington DC.

The meeting is co-chaired by Wang and US Secretary of Finance Henry Paulson.

They act as special representatives of the state leaders of the two countries.

Participants of the two-day meeting include minister-level officials and other senior officials from the two governments.

China and the United States plan to sign a 10-year cooperation agreement on energy and environmental protection after the meeting.

(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2008)

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