Wed, November 19, 2008
China > China & World

U.S. FDA opens 1st overseas office in Beijing

2008-11-19 07:25:12 GMT2008-11-19 15:25:12 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

(From L to R) Mike Leavitt, US Health and Human Services Secretary, Shao Mingli, head of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), Andrew von Eschenbach, FDA Commissioner and the US Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt Jr. cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the FDA Beijing office, November 19, 2008. The US FDA will open three offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai this week to help ensure export safety while China is also preparing to station offices in the US. [Asianewsphoto]

FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach (L) and Shao Mingli (C), head of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) unveil the FDA Beijing office while US Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt looks in Beijing, November 19, 2008. The FDA will open three offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai this week to help ensure export safety while China is also preparing to station offices in the US. [Asianewsphoto]

FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach (L) shakes hands with Shao Mingli (C), head of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), while US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt looks on at the opening ceremony of the FDA Beijing office, November 19, 2008. The US FDA will open three offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai this week to help ensure export safety while China is also preparing to station offices in the US. [Asianewsphoto]

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.

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