China has blacklisted more than 400 exporters for violating trade rules following a series of food, drug and other health scares across the world, the Commerce Ministry said yesterday.
The list included two pet food manufacturers that had exported to the US. Washington stepped up inspections of imports from China after a chemical additive in pet food caused the death of some pets there earlier this year.
Since then, poisonous ingredients have been found in Chinese exports of toys, toothpaste and fish, while the deaths of patients in Panama were blamed on improperly labeled Chinese chemicals that were mixed into cough syrup.
In the latest scare, US toy maker Mattel said on Wednesday that it was recalling 1.5 million Chinese-made toys worldwide because their paint may contain too much lead.
Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng (高虎城) stressed the government line that Chinese products were overwhelmingly safe and of high quality, and called on foreign media not to hype the problems of a small minority of goods or companies.
But on the ministry Web site, he said 429 Chinese firms on the blacklist had been punished for violating export regulations. The Web site did not elaborate.
"China will strengthen international cooperation on the safety of products," Gao was quoted as saying.
A delegation of US officials in Beijing hammered out "basic frameworks" for two agreements seeking to reassure US consumers that Chinese-made goods met safety standards, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt said on Friday.
China, where the former drug and food safety watchdog chief was executed last month for corruption, has also canceled the licenses of six medicine manufacturers.
The China Daily said 270 "on-the-spot drug test" vans would soon hit the roads of rural China to weed out counterfeit drugs.
In related news, Beijing has banned all Indonesian seafood imports after checks turned up toxins, dangerous chemicals and pathogens, the government said.
Martani Huseini, a senior official at Indonesia's Department of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said the move appeared to be in reaction to an import ban last month on certain Chinese products. Indonesia said it had found that some Chinese cosmetics contained mercury.