U.S., China to sign import agreements

Dec. 3, 2007 at 11:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Efforts to ensure Chinese products exported to the United States are safe would get a boost under agreements the two nations are expected to sign soon.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington Monday he will travel to China next week with the intent of getting Chinese leaders' signatures on two pacts dealing with food, animal feed, drugs and medical devices, the Voice of America reported.

"Any country who desires to produce goods for American consumers needs to produce them in accordance with American standards -- American standards of quality, American standards of safety," Leavitt said.

Chinese manufacturers are under critical scrutiny as a result of a series of recalls involving hazardous toys, and chemically contaminated seafood and toothpaste.

Leavitt noted the issue isn't limited to China since U.S. consumers buy $2 trillion worth of imported products annually. He said with so many goods coming into 300 U.S. ports, the federal government cannot inspect everything at the border.

"It is not possible, nor should we try to inspect our way to import safety," he said. "Everything needs to be safe, but our strategy has to change."

Topics: Mike Leavitt
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