I have heard it said more than once that you know the Chinese government is taking a serious problem seriously when Vice Premier (“the iron lady”) Wu Yi is sent in to fix it (remember SARS?). So it is with product safety . According to the Wall Street Journal:
“China’s decision to appoint the government’s top troubleshooter to head a new cabinet panel on product safety reflects Beijing’s growing concern about international reaction to a series of scandals involving Chinese exports.
Wu Yi, a Chinese vice-premier, will lead a 19-member body that will look into ways to fix the country’s problems with food and product safety, the government announced Friday on its official Web site. The central government had said last month that such a group would be formed.”
In addition to the appointment (and the message it sends), China is imposing new testing requirements on food exporters. The New York Times reports:
“Chinese government authorities are prepared to require that every shipment of food being exported to the United States and other countries be inspected for quality by the government, starting Sept. 1, a senior Chinese trade official said…”.
So much negative press has been heaped on China in the past few weeks (as though product safety in the multi-national world of trade is a purely Chinese issue!) that the government is right to take harsh action. Hopefully this will result in long-term benefits all round. But it is just one of many issues that will work to ensure Chinese prices will continue creeping up. A price worth paying I think.
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