China will increase product recalls for ordinary consumer products in an effort to enhance consumer safety, under a draft regulation put forward by the country’s quality watchdog.
The draft, which was made public by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine on June 17 to solicit public opinion, stipulates that producers are the primary party responsible for the recall of products, while wholesalers should also take some of the responsibility.
The draft also clarified the categories of consumer products that must be recalled after the discovery of defects that might endanger consumers. Food, drugs, health supplements, cosmetics, services, media and printed products are not listed in the product recall categories, the authority said.
Problems with tainted food and drugs are the responsibility of the China Food and Drug Administration.
China introduced a product recall system for motor vehicles in 2004 and for toys in 2007. It has issued product recalls for home appliance products 31 times.
“However, compared with Western countries, China’s product recall system covers only very limited categories. There is also a lack of a sound legal framework for the recalls,” an official with the quality watchdog said.
“A large number of flawed consumer products should be recalled, but are not recalled. Such products have posed severe threats to public safety,” he said.
Additionally, many foreign enterprises have deliberately ignored the Chinese market as they carry out product recalls, partly due to a lack of legislation, he said.
Enterprises in China carried out only 72 consumer product recalls, totaling 4.25 million units, last year. Meanwhile, there were a total of 296 recalls, totaling 47.8 million units, in the United States last year. In the European Union, the total number of recalls for consumer products last year was 2,087.
The draft regulation also covers imported products, as enterprises that import products to be sold in China will be held responsible for any recalls.
Quality watchdogs at the provincial level will have the authority to investigate product defects under the draft regulation. They will also be responsible for collecting consumer complaints related to the defects of certain products.
The national quality watchdog would be directly responsible for the investigation of products with defects that cover multiple provinces or areas.