U.S. Carmakers Providing Safety Training For Chinese Suppliers

General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler will train their Chinese suppliers about how to comply with safe working standards.

SHANGHAI, China (AP) - General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler announced Wednesday they will provide training for their suppliers in China on how to keep their working conditions safe, health and legal.

The plan has the backing of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, a government-supported industry group, the three automakers said in an announcement.

General Motors Corp. has more than 20,000 employees in China and relies on suppliers employing thousands more. Ford Motor Co. and German-American automaker DaimlerChrysler AG similarly have many suppliers based in China.

Senior executives of the three automakers were in China's commercial capital for the weeklong 2007 Shanghai Auto Show, which ends on Saturday.

The automakers will use training designed by the Automotive Industry Action Group aimed at educating suppliers about Chinese labor laws and improving compliance with safe working standards, the statement said.

''The single most important resource at any of our member companies is people,'' J. Scot Sharland, the action group's executive director, said in the statement. ''Given the tremendous growth of North American investment in the developing Chinese automotive supply chain, it is imperative that these companies are cognizant of local labor laws and fundamentally understand that Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler expect 100 percent compliance.''

The training is due to begin by the middle of 2007, it said.

The statement cited an unnamed official from the Chinese automotive industry group noting the need for companies to abide by domestic labor laws.

Multinational companies operating or sourcing in China are under intensifying scrutiny for labor conditions at their factories and those of their suppliers. Meanwhile, China has been urging foreign-invested companies to let employees join the government-sanctioned labor federation.

The Automotive Industry Action Group was set up in 1982 to handle industry-related issues such as cost reduction, product quality, health, safety and the environment. It has more than 1,500 member companies in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

The group said it is also beginning training sessions in Mexico in mid-2007.


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