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EU: Safety concerns about Chinese products are not protectionist

EU: Safety concerns about Chinese products are not protectionist

Europe's safety concerns about Chinese goods are not a politically motivated effort to protect its market, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said Monday.
"The allegation that European companies' action against toxic Chinese goods is politically motivated and shows bias against China is totally false," he said. "This is not a question of trade, but of health."
The EU trade chief was responding to a Chinese official's claims, made on China Central Television's economic channel on Sunday, that concerns over the safety of Chinese products were protectionist _ after the world's largest toy maker, Mattel Inc., recalled millions of Chinese-made toys tainted with toxic lead paint.
Li Changjiang, director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said he believed there was a "new trend in trade protectionism."
The TV program is the latest in China's recent push to prove it is a safe manufacturer and exporter of goods amid discoveries of high levels of chemicals and toxins in Chinese products by countries around the world, from toothpaste to fish.
But Mandelson warned that the European Union would contest in the strongest terms any Chinese move to create a pretext for retaliatory action.
"Action should be taken where this is needed but otherwise the bulk of our trade should continue as normal," he said. "I will not accept claims of toxicity being used as a pretext for protectionism. Equally, I will give firm backing to European companies having to reject goods that are dangerous to consumers, including young children."
Even before the Mattel recall, EU officials had asked China to report back regularly on what it was doing to improve toy safety. Close to half of all problem consumer products _ excluding food _ came from China last year, the EU said. To some extent this reflects trade flows since over a quarter of all goods the EU imports are from China.
Worried about China's growing trade surplus with the rest of the world, Mandelson claimed he had won recognition from China that it needed to do something to avoid further trade tensions.
The EU cited potential problems with the lifting of textile quotas next year and called on China to be more open to foreign businesses trying to break their way into the world's most populous market.


Updated : 2021-10-16 17:28 GMT+08:00