Monday February 26, 2018
North American Product Safety Agencies Highlight Existing Cooperation during MOU Signing
CPSC and its North American counterparts Health Canada and Mexico's PROFECO will suggest jointly-developed updates of safety standards for AC/USB chargers. The four testing ideas are the types of work that might occur under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) among the agencies, signed February 22 at the ICPHSO conference.
Like with the charger update, the results of the document will include continuation of many activities already underway. Examples are lab staff exchanges, excises to improve cargo movement through the continent, and joint recalls.
The recalls have been occurring since 2011 although they mostly have been between the U.S. and Canada. CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle noted that CPSC and Health Canada have cooperated 488 times. Mexico has joined in 22 times with 14 simultaneous corrective actions and eight coordinated efforts.
Joining her in signing the agreement were Tolga Yalkin, Director General of Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety Directorate, and Rogelio Cerda Pérez, PROFECO's federal consumer attorney.
Expect further discussion of cooperative activities at the public sessions of the upcoming summit among the three agencies in May. CPSC will be the host. The event has occurred every few years since 2011 with rotating hosts.
According to CPSC’s press release (bit.ly/2EP4hQ5) on the new MOU:
Products produced in North America or imported from outside, to any of the three countries, may easily find their way into another partner’s jurisdiction through our extensive shared borders. The MOU will facilitate better regulatory cooperation and technical exchanges among product safety authorities to share best practices and improve the potential for alignment of requirements at high levels of safety. For example, a recent project by the three agencies analyzed and recommended testing solutions for unaddressed hazards from wall outlet chargers for small electronic products – an initiative that will be expanded under the MOU to include other product areas for aligning approaches to safety. The CPSC’s efforts for U.S. consumers will also benefit from cooperation from Health Canada and PROFECO as the CPSC conducts targeted training on U.S. safety requirements for foreign suppliers in Canada and Mexico.
The growing volume of imported products in the United States and the increasing complexity and dynamism of global supply chains require a proactive and preventive approach by the CPSC to ensure that imported products are safe. During 2015, approximately 46 percent of all consumer products sold in the United States were imported (this represents an increase from 44 percent in 2012) and nearly 100 percent of toys consumed came from abroad, an increase from 98.6 percent in 2009 (latest data available). The value of consumer product imports under the CPSC’s jurisdiction from all countries reached about $737 billion in 2016. Imports decreased 2.5 percent from 2015. Imports rose 19 percent above 2007 totals, and 8 percent above 2011 imports Moreover, the great majority of consumer products recalled have been for imported goods.
The United States, Canada, and Mexico share the world's largest free trade area linking 450 million people producing $20 trillion worth of goods and services. This trade area is greater than the economic output of the 28 countries in the entire European Union. The value of imports of consumer products from Mexico and Canada, the United States’ two largest trading partners in the Western Hemisphere, totaled about $118.9 billion in 2016, representing 88 percent of total consumer product imports from the Western Hemisphere or 16 percent of total imports in 2016.