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Safety first as Europe and China get together

THE Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre have joined forces to share their expertise in consumer protection.

They signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday at a food safety seminar in the EU Pavilion. Both institutions provide technical support for policy makers and will cooperate in scientific research to ensure the safety of consumer products.

"It is the first memo in the area of consumer protection signed between the EU and China, which has great significance for both parties," said academy director Li Huailin. "With today's globalization of markets, food safety and consumer protection are no longer domestic issues, but need to be addressed in international collaboration."

The memo is a framework for better communication and collaboration between European and Chinese authorities on general product safety, ranging from food and electronic equipment to clothes, toys, chemical supplies and many other areas.

According to the memo, a number of practical measures will be adopted, including joint meetings, bilateral cooperation on tests, professional training, product safety standards enforcement, exchange of information on scientific, technical and regulatory matters, as well as follow-ups to problems identified and emerging issues.

Nanotechnology is one of the most important research areas at the academy. This involves identifying the microscopic components of products, including cosmetics, decorative materials and textiles on the Chinese market. It also analyses the migration of particles in skin-contact materials for risk assessment purposes.

"CAIQ will work closely with JRC's Institute for Health and Consumer Protection in nanotechnology to improve consumer protection," Li said.


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