BEIJING, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened its first overseas office here on Wednesday, in an effort to better regulate food that is imported into the United States.
The office will mainly be responsible for building up a system of food and drug safety inspections in China, said Mike Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Leavitt came here this week with FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to attend two workshops with their Chinese counterparts to address food safety issues.
According to Leavitt, the FDA will also open offices in Guangzhou and Shanghai later this week. Eight inspectors and senior technical experts on food, medicine and medical devices have been appointed to work in these three offices.
The staff will inspect local facilities, provide guidance on U.S. quality standards, and improve regulatory systems in China through collaboration with their Chinese counterparts, said Christopher J. Hickey, director of the FDA Office in Beijing.
"The establishment of this office will further promote and deepen the collaboration between China and the United States in the field of food and drug regulation," said Shao Mingli, director of China's State Food and Drug Administration, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
China and the United States signed an agreement on the safety of drugs and medical devices in December 2007. The pact provides for regular senior officials' meetings, communication about legislation, information exchanges and technical cooperation.