EU: No Double Standard On Chinese Goods

European Union consumer goods official says bans on Chinese imports deemed dangerous or unsafe are not protectionism.

BEIJING (AP) - European Union bans on Chinese imports deemed dangerous or unsafe are not protectionism, an EU consumer goods official said Tuesday as she urged China to better police its problematic manufacturers.
There was no double standard on how the EU decided to ban imported goods for safety problems or in the way it requires governments to track down problem exporters, EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said.
''Many of the goods which are coming to the European market (from China) don't raise any concern and they increase the choice of European consumers,'' Kuneva said. Dangerous goods from China were dealt with in the same way as unsafe products from any other third country or Europe as well, she said.
''There is no double standard,'' she said.
The EU in 2006 identified 924 products—from unsafe lighters to wobbly strollers to short-circuiting kettles—as too dangerous to be sold in its 27 member nations, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
China was the country of origin in almost half of the cases, while over a quarter of all goods the EU imports are from China.
Beijing is battling international mistrust centered around Chinese exports which have been found to contain potentially toxic chemicals and additives. China has recently taken steps aimed at recapturing global confidence in its commitment to ensuring that food, drugs and other products are safe.
Kuneva said she told her Chinese counterparts during meetings Monday that they needed to improve their product safety monitoring and provide more information about measures taken against manufacturers of fake or shoddy exports.
China has committed to giving detailed quarterly reports on actions taken against the makers of goods recalled in Europe. But since the commitment was made in January 2006, Beijing has only delivered two such reports.
''The first report was very poor,'' Kuneva said. ''The second was better but still not sufficient. That's why I am here.''
''China is in a position really to prove how serious it is about investigating more thoroughly the problems we identify. This will improve the Chinese market,'' she said.
Kuneva is on a five-day visit to China that started Sunday and has included talks with Chinese product safety watchdogs in Beijing. She was also to visit the eastern province of Jiangsu, where she will tour a toy inspection laboratory and several toy factories.
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