CPSC's Latest Initiatives Look Offshore

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has signed an agreement with the Vietnamese government that aims to improve the safety of consumer products exported to the United States from Vietnam. The announcement coincided with a visit to Hanoi by CPSC officials who met their government counterparts and conducted product safety training for Vietnamese exporters of consumer products.

The agreement is between CPSC and the Directorate for Standards and Quality of the Ministry of Science and Technology. "Vietnam has become an increasingly important trading partner with the United States," said Acting CSPS Chairman Nancy Nord. "Working with industry and directly with government agencies in other countries, such as Vietnam, is one of the most effective ways to ensure the safety of products made abroad and intended for U.S. store shelves." Dr. Ngo Quy Viet, director general of the Vietnamese agency, said Vietnam "welcomes collaboration with foreign partners, especially with those that have such an effective safety system as the United States, to improve consumer and importer confidence." Imports from Vietnam to the United States rose to more than $8 billion of products under CPSC jurisdiction in 2007.

CPSC also has signed agreements with Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, the European Commission, Egypt, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru and Taiwan to improve the safety of consumer products. At a news conference last week at the Port of Long Beach, Nord joined by Customs and Border Protection  Assistant Commissioner Daniel Baldwin and California Director of Consumer Affairs Carrie Lopez to formally announce the creation of the new Import Surveillance Division at the CPSC. This team, in coordination with the CBP, is tasked with inspecting, detecting and stopping hazardous products from entering into the United States. The Port of Long Beach in California is the first port that will have a permanent CPSC presence. Nord said the agency will test more samples and conduct more port-of-entry surveillance blitzes with assistance from CBP.

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