U.S. China Product Safety Summit, Closing Remarks - Friday, October 14, 2011, State Department, Washington, D.C.

October 14, 2011

Good morning everyone.

 

I am so pleased to be able to state that the Fourth U.S.-China Consumer Product Safety Summit between CPSC and AQSIQ has been our best summit.

 

Vice Minister Sun and Director General Wang, I want to thank you for your leadership at this summit and for your leadership in advancing the cause of product safety in China.

 

This summit demonstrated your commitment to strengthening our relationship, to improving bilateral and multilateral communication and participation, and to striving for higher levels of quality and safety in the manufacturing of consumer products.

 

I mention quality because the results of an interesting survey were recently released. A brand management company called The Monogram Group recently surveyed consumers and found a 50 percent increase since 2008 in Americans who believe goods made in China are of a high quality.

 

And there was a 14 percent drop in the percentage of Americans who believe Chinese goods are of low quality.

 

I share the results of this survey because progress has been one of our themes at this summit, and those numbers are a sign of progress.

 

But, we must not become complacent with the positive changes we are seeing in consumer confidence.

 

Instead, we should strive for even higher levels of quality and safety in the consumer products intended for children and adults in both the United States and China.

 

This is where best practices in manufacturing play such a vital role and can bring mutual benefits for both of our nations.

 

During the summit we heard from the American Society of Quality about the importance of investing in quality and how applying best practices can reap benefits for a company's bottom line-and for consumer safety.

 

ASQ also stressed the importance of taking a systems approach so that manufacturers can strive for defect prevention and not just defect detection.

 

From the Midea Group, a major household appliance manufacturer in China, we heard about how best practices are being applied on the ground - through the use of Six Sigma, risk control systems, and quality assurance systems.

 

And yesterday, I emphasized that having good manufacturing, better safety, and best practices is vital for Chinese manufacturers and exporters of goods bound for the United States-vital because these companies need to comply with the new requirements that CPSC has put in place, especially when it comes to children's products.

 

For the media joining us today, I would like you to know that we have some of the most stringent lead paint and lead content limits in the world, we have limits on phthalates in toys and childcare articles, we have the toughest crib safety standard in the world, and all of the toy standards in the U.S. are now mandatory.

 

Our colleagues at AQSIQ have worked closely with us to understand U.S. safety requirements, and we have worked closely with the manufacturing sectors to help them understand these requirements.

 

The new rules in the U.S., combined with AQSIQ's leadership in establishing safety standards in China, promoting certification and accreditation, and taking enforcement actions, are reasons for consumers in both nations to have trust that we are putting their interests first.

 

The times have changed and the rules have changed, and the changes are very much in the favor of child safety and consumer safety.

 

As reflected in our Joint Statement, CPSC and AQSIQ have affirmed our commitment to broaden our cooperation and work to resolve areas of disagreement.

 

We have recognized that there are other vital partners, such as industry associations and educational institutions, that are indispensible to an effective program of education and outreach to manufacturers as we strive to increase the use of internationally accepted best practices that are so necessary to manufacturing safe products.

 

Our staffs will work together to identify and act upon opportunities for such partnerships.

 

In closing this morning, I want to re-emphasize my commitment to leading CPSC into a regulatory approach that is proactive and preventative.

 

We have child safety rules in place to help us achieve this approach, we have a great team in our new Office of Education, Global Outreach, and Small Business Ombudsman, including our Beijing office, to help us achieve this approach, and we have a new Strategic Plan in place that will help us achieve this approach - and become the global leader in consumer product safety.

 

Vice Minister Sun, Director General Wang, and the distinguished delegation from China, our partnership with all of you is so important to CPSC as we travel down this new and exciting path-a path that I believe will lead us toward a mutual expectation of good manufacturing, better safety, and best practices.

 

I believe we took another step forward down that path with this summit.

 

And those millions of parents and children who I talked about yesterday, they may not know what we did at this summit, but so long as they are safe in their home, then we can take pride in what we achieved.

 

Thank you very much. Shieh shieh.