U.S. to open the first overseas Consumer Product Safety office
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW
JEREMY HOBSON: Well Congress is putting off its scheduled business this week in the wake of Saturday’s tragic shooting in Arizona. But some government work goes on. Today the chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission is on an important trip to Beijing. Inez Tenenbaum is there to set up the first ever Consumer Product Safety office overseas.
Our Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale is with us now live with more. Good morning John.
JOHN DIMSDALE: Good morning Jeremy.
HOBSON: Why put a product safety office in China?
DIMSDALE: Well, between China and Hong Kong, those two countries are responsible for 45 percent of consumer products and 90 percent of toys sold here. But you know there have been lots of problems with toxic and metals in those kid’s products, or even bad dry wall that emits these noxious gases. So, Andy Rothman is this economist in Shanghai with the brokerage firm CLSA and he says China’s trying to avoid recalls by inviting regulators from its export markets to work more closely with local industry.
ANDY ROTHMAN: We’ve seen this before, on issues like mine safety. And the FAA has been here for a along time for example working on aviation safety. So this is not really something new for the Chinese communist party.
HOBSON: John, is this going to do anything for the U.S. consumers who’ve already been harmed by defective products that have come out of China?
DIMSDALE: Chairwoman Tenenbaum met with a group of Chinese drywall makers to try to get some compensation for all the people in this country who installed the smelly walls. There are over 4,000 complaints from U.S. homeowners and U.S. courts. But she reports no progress with the manufacturers themselves. So her next stop is going to be with the Chinese government office of Quality Inspections to see if there is any way to hold the government more accountable.
HOBSON: Marketplace’s John Dimsdale in Washington, thanks so much.
DIMSDALE: You’re welcome.
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