BEIJING, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration opened an office in Beijing, its first such overseas presence, Chinese officials said.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said the responsibilities of the office, inaugurated Wednesday, will include communicating with Chinese regulatory agencies and helping to improve China's food and drug safety supervision, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
USFDA offices are also opening in Guangzhou and Shanghai this week.
China has been plagued by a number of food and product safety issues, the latest being the melamine-tainted milk powder contamination that sickened about 50,000 Chinese babies.
"The establishment of this office will further promote and deepen the collaboration between China and the United States in the field of food and drug regulation," said Shao Mingli, director of China's State Food and Drug Administration.
The Xinhua report said China also plans to station quality offices in the United States to check on U.S. exports.
Chinese Health Minister Chen Zhu was quoted as saying China is ready to sincerely and open-mindedly communicate with the United States, share experience and conduct international cooperation in an open and reciprocal manner.