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Official: China Always Attaches Great Importance to Food Safety

China has always attached great importance to product quality and food safety, and recently a series of measures have been taken in this respect, a senior Chinese official said in Geneva on Thursday.

"Since March this year, in response to some countries' concerns and media coverage on Chinese food safety, China has subsequently adopted five important measures," said Zhang Xiangchen, head of WTO affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Addressing a meeting of the WTO's Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Committee), Zhang said the Chinese government had also "taken legal actions against those enterprises that broke the law."

"So far, 444 enterprises have been blacklisted by the Ministry of Commerce; the foreign trade rights of those illegal enterprises have also been expropriated according to law," he said.

Zhang said Premier Wen Jiabao had recently put forward six provisions on how to enhance product quality, and a Product Quality and Food Safety Steering Group has been established under the State Council.

The State Council has also defined the liability of enterprises as the first person-in-charge for the product quality and food safety, as well as the related responsibility of local governments.

Other measures include a government White Paper presenting in detail the current food safety situation in China and a 4-month special rectification program on product quality and food safety.

"These measures clearly demonstrate that China is a country of high sense of responsibility, and even with only 1 percent of products of inferior quality, the country will not shy away from or cover them up but spare no efforts in tackling and solving the problem in an honest manner," Zhang said.

Zhang also expressed hope that WTO members can continuously strengthen cooperation in the area of food safety to share management experiences, learn from each other, and together to meet the global challenges and ultimately achieve the goal of protecting consumers' health.

"I sincerely hope that our trading partners could continue enjoy low price, good quality Chinese products and services. Of course, we will do our parts to ensure the quality and safety of the products made in China," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2007)

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