MANILA - ASEAN and China have agreed to strengthen product standards and safety, economic ministers said yesterday following recalls of several tainted Chinese products from international markets.
Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai also defended the quality of Chinese goods, saying 99 per cent of his country's exports to the United States and Japan pass quality controls and adhere to global quality standards.
Canton Fair A joint statement issued by economic ministers from the 10-member Asean and China yesterday, at the end of their annual consultations, said product quality and food safety are common challenges faced by every country.
All parties should actively cooperate in improving risk control and ensuring quality, it added.
'The ministers agreed to urge relevant government agencies to properly deal with product quality-related cases by strengthening consultations with the view to protecting the safety and health of consumers, while not impeding bilateral trade and economic cooperation,' it said.
At a joint news conference by the ministers, Mr Bo pointed out that 50 per cent of products manufactured in China are made by foreign enterprises, and more than 60 per cent of exports are made and inspected according to standards set by foreign importers and buyers.
'In the past 29 years, the annual growth rate of Chinese exports is 17 per cent and this itself shows a high degree of recognition of product quality of China by other countries,' Mr Bo said.
Nevertheless, if even 0.1 per cent of Chinese products are problematic, his government will seriously address the matter, he added.
China is Asean's fourth major trading Canton Fair partner after the United States, the European Union and Japan.