China and the United States are expected to sign two binding
agreements today to ensure the safety of food and drug exports, top
officials from both countries said yesterday.
One pact, to be signed between China's General Administration of
Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and the US
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), deals with exports
of food and animal feed; and the other, between China's State Food
and Drug Administration and the HHS, will be on drugs and medical
The agreements are to ensure that food and drugs China and the
US export to each other meet import standards, HHS Secretary Mike
Leavitt said at the American Chamber of Commerce in China yesterday
"Any country that desires to produce goods for American
consumers needs to produce them in accordance with American
standards... and we (US and China) should have common expectations
of one another in this regard," he said.
Chinese animal feed, seafood and toys exported to the US have
aroused safety concern this year, while some US exports, including
pork and potato chips, have also been found unsafe according to
Therefore, Leavitt said while meeting AQSIQ Minister Li
Changjiang yesterday afternoon, the two countries should
collaborate in formulating standards to ensure products made in one
country meet all the requirements of the other.
"We have different systems, but share the same goal, and should
establish more communication channels to enhance contact and
cooperation," Leavitt said.
Li said both agreements are products of long and fruitful
"Product safety is a concern shared by the whole world, and we
need intensified international cooperation, especially in sharing
information and experiences," Li said.
AQSIQ Vice-Minister Wei Chuanzhong also disclosed yesterday
after meeting a delegation from the US Department of Agriculture
that the two countries are discussing a third agreement on the
safety of agricultural products.
"Basically, the agreement aims to improve our working
relationship and cooperation on how to handle problems of meat,
poultry and egg products," Ellen Terpstra, deputy under secretary
for farm and foreign agricultural services, who headed the
delegation, told China Daily.
"An important goal of the agreement is to ensure smooth trade
flow for both sides," she said.
The two nations still have a few disagreements, but both Wei and
Terpstra said they hope the agreement will be signed as soon as
US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez yesterday also pointed
the direction toward product safety.
"As the next step, perhaps we can look at an agreement with the
US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, which has a seafood
inspection system. The system is voluntary but can be very helpful
for your fisheries exports," he said while meeting Li.
He also suggested that cooperation be strengthened between the
US National Institute for Standards and Technology and the Chinese
National Institute for Metrology to jointly develop standards.
At the end of the meeting, the US delegates received Chinese
toys as Christmas gifts. "It's a nice gift. It's a lot of fun,"
Gutierrez said while picking a doll that can speak, laugh and
(China Daily December 11, 2007)