Since 2008, the product safety authorities of China and the United States as well as the European Commission have pursued joint efforts to strengthen non-food consumer product safety and protect the end consumers. The first four Consumer Product Safety Trilateral Summits have promoted information sharing, regulatory cooperation, and coordination among regulators, to further advance consumer product safety.
During this Fifth High-Level Consumer Product Safety Trilateral Summit held today in Beijing, China, Sun Dawei Vice-Minister of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine; Elliot F. Kaye, Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; and Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality of the European Commission; exchanged views and information concerning further improvements to consumer product safety, especially with regard to strengthening regulatory cooperation on e-commerce transactions, including direct-to-consumer transactions.
Points of Consensus
In a spirit of mutual resolve, openness, and mutual respect, the Tripartite Participants shared a common view as follows:
1. Consumer product safety is the key area of shared concern for the Tripartite Participants. Over the years, the Participants have achieved positive results to improve consumer product safety, through unilateral actions, through the framework of bilateral cooperation mechanisms, and through trilateral joint activities.
2. The development of e-commerce has created new challenges for government authorities responsible for consumer product safety, in particular concerning the surveillance of the safety of products sold online. Given the fast development of cross-border e-commerce, the Tripartite Participants recognized the importance of strengthening international consumer product safety cooperation, in line with the Participant’s respective legal frameworks, to ensure efficient enforcement actions against economic operators and to reinforce the safety of consumer products sold online.
3. Aiming at promoting the safety of consumer products, it is important to involve industry stakeholders even more in efforts to prevent the sale of non-compliant or otherwise hazardous consumer products online and elsewhere.
4. Further strengthening of cooperation in the field of product risk assessment and withdrawal and recall management, particularly linked to emerging technologies, can play an important role in improving the safety of consumer products. The Tripartite Participants renewed their interest in encouraging the adoption of a culture of safety in product design, manufacturing, marketing, and in the supply chain. Moreover, they encouraged effective traceability of products to enable industry and governments to intervene quickly to prevent harm to consumers.
Specific actions in which the Tripartite Participants intended to engage, bilaterally and trilaterally, as appropriate, and respecting Participants’ legal frameworks, include:
1. Strengthen product safety cooperation mechanisms, in particular on cross-border e-commerce consumer product safety supervision, under the existing bilateral, trilateral cooperation frameworks. This should include exchange of information and appropriate actions on hazardous products, including ones sold online. Established successful cooperation frameworks, such as RAPEX China, should be used for this purpose to their full potential. In this framework, for products sold online, measures should be taken in accordance with the specificities of online supply chains, involving the economic operators in the supply chain, as appropriate.
2. Within the possibilities offered by their respective laws, continue to enhance product safety information exchange and the sharing of risk assessment information between regulators at the earliest practical point. In particular, Participants can cooperate to discuss emerging technologies and/or rapidly developed new products.
3. Continue to strengthen communication regarding consumer product safety requirements and policies among the Participants, especially on new rules and policies and significant changes.
4. Strengthen cooperation on recalls/withdrawals of hazardous consumer products and provide notification to the other Tripartite Participants as early as possible if recalled/withdrawn or otherwise dangerous products are known to be sold in their jurisdictions.
Next Trilateral Meeting
The Tripartite Participants look forward to holding the next Consumer Product Safety Trilateral Summit in 2018 in the United States. The date and location of the Summit are to be determined.