Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 12 News List

PRC tries to clean up image in Sydney

FIGHTING BACK Hu Jintao pointed out that 99 percent of exports from China to the US, EU and Japan from 2004 to the first half of this year were up to standard

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN SYDNEY

China attempted to clean up its image regarding tainted goods at the APEC meeting in Sydney yesterday, with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) saying he would enhance international cooperation to ensure Chinese exports meet appropriate safety standards.

Hu was replying to a question during a press conference following a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

"We implement strict inspection procedures to ensure product quality and food safety," Hu said. "From 2004 to the first half of this year, 99 percent of Chinese exports to the US, EU and Japan were up to standard."

Product safety became a serious issue after goods manufactured in China were recently found to contain dangerous toxins.

The safety scare issue was also discussed during a bilateral meeting between US President George W. Bush and Hu.

On Wednesday, US toy giant Mattel Inc announced its third recall this year of toys from Chinese manufacturers that were found to contain lead paint.

Ministers from 21 APEC members also agreed yesterday to set up a food safety taskforce chaired by Australia and China to ensure the health and safety of people in the region. During a press conference following the ministerial meeting, Australian Trade Minister Warren Truss said the action was not targeting Chinese food and products.

"We expect all goods to be safe here," Truss said.

The taskforce, however, has no specific commitment of funds so far, he said.

Taiwan is aware of a series of defective Chinese products that caused panic in many countries and will strengthen inspection of Chinese imports through the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) said.

Also yesterday, ministers endorsed stalled trade talks as their nations' best hopes of sustained economic growth, said a joint statement calling on the 21 leaders to back a successful conclusion to the Doha round of WTO negotiations on trade liberalization.

The statement also recognized the importance of further development in digital capability of APEC member economies, citing a Taiwan-initiated APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) project.

"We welcomed the contribution made by the APEC Digital Opportunity Center in this regard and encouraged member economies to further cooperate in relevant capacity building activities," the statement said.

Taiwan proposed the ADOC project in 2003 to help narrow the digital divide between member economies.

Acer founder Stan Shih (施振榮), representing Taiwan at the APEC Summit on behalf of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), said earlier this week that he would promote a newer ADOC 2.0 project to member countries later this year.

Meanwhile, Gary Lin (林松煥), the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office representative in Australia, confirmed that Shih would arrive this afternoon by air force One in Sydney.

As Taiwan has no formal diplomatic ties with Australia, the aircraft will not bear the national flag on the tail, he said.

Shih's airplane will make two stops, the second in Brisbane, for refueling, Lin said.

He would not reveal where the first stop would take place, citing fear of pressure from China.

Shih would receive the same treatment as other leaders attending the APEC meeting, Lin said.

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