29th Jun 2022

EU threatens to ban unsafe Chinese products

  • Brussels recently announced a review on how it deals with unsafe imports, especially toys (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Union on Wednesday (12 September) said that it could ban some Chinese products from entering the EU market unless they meet the bloc's criteria on health and safety by October.

"This is the last warning. If there's an unsatisfactory report in October we will [impose] the next layer of measures. Among them is a ban on products", Meglena Kuneva, the EU commissioner responsible for consumer protection said in front of the European parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee.

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She did not specify which Chinese products could face the restrictions, but Associated Press reports it could include toys and some spare parts, with Chinese toy imports currently constituting more than 50 percent of the EU market in this field.

Mattel - the largest American toy company - has removed millions of units of Chinese toys this summer because of high levels of lead or magnets that detach too easily.

This prompted questions about what would have happened if Mattel had not made the recalls.

"The Mattel recalls are not a wake-up call ... we're already awake", a commission spokesperson said, denying allegations that Brussels was not sufficiently alert to the problem.

China is to issue a report in October in reply to European safety concerns. It has already issued three reports in the past on health and safety issues but failed to allay EU concerns.

"I believe that Europe's relationship with China in this area should be developed by building consumer confidence through co-operation. Co-operation will be built on clear reporting, increased technical cooperation and effective enforcement", commissioner Kuneva said, adding that the forthcoming report will act as "a test case for our co-operation."

The European Commission recently announced the launching of a review on how it deals with unsafe imports, especially toys.

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The European Commission has said that "considerable progress" has been made by China on toy safety in response to several major toy recalls on health grounds. But it has proposed a string of initiatives aimed at strengthening the enforcement and implementation of product safety controls.

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The European Parliament approved last week a non-binding resolution on illegal logging, calling to extend the EU public prosecutor's mandate to also cover environmental crime. The lead MEP on the file has called for urgent implementation.

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