U.S. consumer safety camps in China

Mitchell Hartman Jul 30, 2009
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U.S. consumer safety camps in China

Mitchell Hartman Jul 30, 2009
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Steve Chiotakis: There’s progress this morning on ensuring Chinese products exported to the United States are safe. The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Inez Tenenbaum, said today on a trip to China her department will set up its first permanent office in Beijing later this year. More from Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman.


Mitchell Hartman: The office still needs final approval from Chinese authorities. The country’s been the source of poisoned pet food, chemical-laced milk and lead-painted toys in the last couple years.

I reached economist Andy Rothman as he was strolling through a Chinese mall today in Shanghai:

Andy Rothman: I don’t think anybody in China, the government or the population in general, wants to have their country known as a place that ships shoddy or dangerous goods. It’s certainly not in their economic interest.

Rothman says the Chinese government has been cracking down on producers that cut corners. He says having a U.S. regulatory presence on the ground will help:

Rothman: But I think we can’t get our hopes up that having a couple of inspectors in Beijing is going to solve the problem for American consumers, given how many thousands of factories are exporting. The onus really has to come on the American companies that are bringing these products into the U.S.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new Beijing office is set to open in October.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

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