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China, ASEAN Beef up Product Quality Supervision

Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan on Sunday welcomed the joint determination of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to enhance cooperation on product quality supervision.

Zeng made the remark at the first China-ASEAN ministers' conference on quality supervision, the opening of which, he said, marks the official launch of a China-ASEAN ministerial-level consultation and cooperation mechanism on quality supervision.

Such a mechanism will play a major role in "addressing issues of common concern relating to product quality and food safety, facilitating the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, and boosting rapid and healthy economic development in China and ASEAN members, he said.

"Strengthening cooperation in quality supervision concerns the healthy economic development in China and the ASEAN, as well as the livelihood of their 1.8 billion people," Zeng added.

China and the ten ASEAN members have already signed more than 40 bilateral cooperation agreements on product quality supervision, inspection and quarantine, standardization, and related capacity building and personnel training, contributing to the promotion of bilateral relations and regional economic development and the protection of consumers' rights and benefits, said the vice premier.

He stressed "it is the common responsibility of the international community to improve product quality and ensure food safety," to which the Chinese government always attaches great importance.

To reach the goal, China has promulgated 33 laws and regulations and formulated more than 21,000 national standards. Related product accreditation and authentication systems have also been established.

While giving more severe punishment to producers and wholesalers of substandard products, China has launched a national campaign to tackle issues concerning product quality and food safety.

During the four-month national campaign ending this December, China had destroyed 667 tons of unqualified or fake food products and ordered 446 tons to be removed from the market by October 8.

The campaign, the latest effort of China to ensure the quality of domestic products, targets farm produce, processed food, the catering sector, drugs, pork, imported and exported goods and other products closely linked to human safety and health.

The Chinese have made major achievements in the sphere of product quality and food safety, said the vice premier, citing the results of recent sample surveys that from 2004 to 2006, more than 99 percent of China's food products exported to the United States, Japan and Europe were qualified, along with 90 percent to 95 percent of the daily consumer goods and basic food products sold at the Chinese market.

"All this fully shows that China-made products are trustworthy," added Zeng.

(Xinhua News Agency October 29, 2007)

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