2008-06-13 13:47:56 GMT 2008-06-13 21:47:56 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
HONG KONG, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The European Union Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva said Friday that she appreciated Hong Kong's efforts in ensuring the safety of consumer products exported to the EU market.
Speaking at a press conference in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on her China trip, Kuneva said she knew the "serious efforts" made by local customs authorities and other government branches through her visit to discuss product safety and consumer policy.
Hong Kong was EU's 17th largest trade partner, with a trade volume of 31.8 billion euros, while EU was the second largest trade partner for Hong Kong.
A large part of Hong Kong's export to the EU was re-export and, therefore, plays a significant role in the supply chain of the trade between the EU and the Chinese mainland, she said.
The EU welcomed feedbacks on product safety of its export, she added.
Kuneva said she had "open, friendly and frank" dialogue with product quality safety authorities on the Chinese mainland during her China trip, which started on Monday.
China has made a lot of efforts to improve the quality safety environment, she said.
The two sides have reached consensus on a number of issues, including a quality safety week in Brussels in November. A three-way ministerial meeting involving officials from the EU, the United States and China will be held then, possibly with a memorandum of understanding laying the ground for further cooperation, she said.
The EU will probably work with the United States to promote common standards, which Kuneva said could send a "good signal" to manufacturing countries like China.
Different standards adopted by the European Union and the United States have led to confusing signals for the manufacturers, she said, citing what she saw at a factory.
But she acknowledged it would not be easy to reach common standards, adding that the EU will not lower its standards, for fear of being accused of compromising safety.
Kuneva will leave Hong Kong for Chengdu, capital of the earthquake-stricken mainland province Sichuan on Friday and visit the quake-stricken areas later.