|EU Commissioner Neven Mimica|
BEIJING (People’s Daily Online)"'Made in China’ is now targeting a better reputation." EU Commissioner Neven Mimica spoke highly of the Chinese government’s commitment to ensuring Chinese product safety and protecting consumer rights during a press conference in Beijing.
According to the rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products (RAPEX) Annual Report issued in March 2014, 64% of disqualified products came from China, much higher than the previous year’s 58 percent. Mimica explained that the increase was driven by tighter regulations in the EU.
Mimica said that children’s toys represented the largest share of disqualified products, and pointed out several problems with toys in terms of colorants, materials and product designs.
Today, the EU reports to the Chinese government immediately any disqualified products from China through RAPEX. Almost 50 percent of disqualified products can be traced back to the manufacturers, who will receive education and training on product safety.
Mimica explained that the protection of consumer rights was a cross-border issue, and that manufacturers should be fully aware of product security issues at the start of the design process, instead of depending on post-sales supervision.
Jiang Xiaojuan has been working for EU-China Trade Project II as a project manager in charge of quality infrastructure and technical barriers to trade. Jiang explained to a People's Daily Online reporter that small businesses account for a considerable share of Chinese exporters, and their products only meet the lowest industry standards due to poor testing equipment and outdated technology.
In contrast, large enterprises inside the EU commit to updating their product standards to a much higher level than existing EU standards. These manufacturers then lobby for higher standards in their industry, thereby creating further barriers to entry into the EU market.
Today, China’s small businesses are locked in a struggle to meet updated EU industry standards. Some experts suggest that these enterprises should seek assistance from the government, invest more in research and development, update their technology, ensure product safety, and enhance their own product standards and promote them in their industry.
"Consumers are key drivers of the economy." Mimica said that in China, 40,000 euros are spent every single second on online shopping, and the number of online customers is expected to reach 416 million by 2016. In the European Union, consumer expenditure accounts for about 60% of GDP.”
This was Mimica’s first visit to China as EU Commissioner responsible for Consumer Policy. During his visit to China from 24 to 27 June 2014 he met with AQSIQ Minister Zhi Shuping, Mr Wang Zhongfu, president of the China Consumers Association, Zhang Yong, Minister of the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), and Minister Zhang Mao, from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).