Set to open later this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is expected to establish its first external office in Beijing to assist with the education and policing of unsafe products reaching American consumers.
Inez Tenenbaum, head of the CPSC, stating that choosing China for the organization’s first overseas office made sense “because 45 percent of the consumer products sold in the United States and 90 percent of all toys come from mainland China.”
The Commission is expected to have just two staff to begin with – a secretary and a product safety specialist. The brief will be to prevent sub-standard manufactured products from reaching U.S. shores and also to educate Chinese businesses about U.S. safety standards and laws. The main issues concerning the United States at present are the continuing use of lead paint in children’s toys, and the dry wall scandal that saw Chinese-manufactured dry wall emit noxious gases as part of construction materials used in some U.S. homes, mainly in Florida and Louisiana. Some 13 Chinese manufacturers were traced as being responsible; however none have been persuaded to provide compensation despite official U.S. government pressure on Chinese officials to have them do so.
Tenenbaum also stated that the office’s purpose would be to “prevent product recalls by preventing problems from occurring in the first place.”