Today begins the Sino-US Consumer Product Safety Summit, “an effort to sooth the black eyes that China and the U.S. are sporting after months of revelations that China is sending tainted products to the U.S. and the federal government has been doing little about it,” writes Dennis Rockstroh on his San Jose Mercury News blog.
The talks, scheduled for today and tomorrow, overlap other meetings about food safety between the two countries. They’ll include representatives from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the equivalent Chinese agency, as well as reps from American companies that import Chinese products.
But experts caution we shouldn’t expect anything too important to come of it—as one tells the International Herald Tribune, “Manage your expectations, because both organizations, while very dedicated and very serious, face limits as to what they can do.”
This may be why Rockstroh isn’t buying the “summit” as anything more than damage control by nervous government officials:
U.S. leaders and lawmakers have said that they are shocked — shocked — to hear that China’s dangerous products have flooded U.S. markets. These are the same people who have been systematically dismantling federal regulatory agencies. The Bush administration even tried to unsuccessfully appoint a lobbyist who had fought against consumer safety rules to head the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Personally, we’d like to give the CPSC the benefit of the doubt, considering how hamstrung it’s been the past few years. But, yeah, what he said.
“US-China consumer safety talks start” [San Jose Mercury News]
“U.S. and Chinese officials to meet on safety issues” [International Herald Tribune]