Counterfeit warning made on eve of EU-China talks

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, European commission

On the eve of crucial EU-China business talks trade commissioner
Peter Mandelson warned that European patience on counterfeit goods
could break if the Chinese authorities fail to crackdown on the
problem.

The trade commissioner's demand that China takes a tougher line on substandard and illegal manufacturing follows numerous safety scares, including seizures of dangerous counterfeit Colgate toothpaste around the world. EU trade in goods with China grew 150 per cent between 2000 and 2006 according to figures published yesterday by Eurostat but sales of counterfeit personal care products have increased at an even faster rate. Chinese fakes were largely responsible for the 128 per cent increase in seizures of counterfeit personal care products at EU borders reported by the EC in 2006. In a speech at the Trade Fairs Seminar in Beijing, Mandelson said: "Recent experience means that the burden falls on China to show that the result will be action and not just words. That is my message today"​ He made the comments two days before the Chinese President Hu Jintao meets the European Council president Jose Socrates and the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso for trade talks. The EU-China Business Summit on 28 November will bring the political leaders of the two trading blocks together to discuss deepening trade links and environmental challenges. However, tension is likely to be high as China's Vice-Premier Wu Yi told reporters that she was extremely dissatisfied by Mandelson's speech. The threatening tone of his speech contrasted with a European Commission report published last week that praised China for making 'considerable progress' in the fight against unsafe consumer products. The report stated that the Chinese authorities were clamping down on the flow of dangerous goods onto the European market. The RAPEX-China report (Rapid Alert System for dangerous consumer goods) found that 184 cases were fully investigated in the three months July-September 2007 compared to 84 cases in the previous two reports combined (July 2007, December 2006).

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