Premier stresses business ethics
(China Daily/Xinhua)
Updated: 2008-09-29 08:46

Amid a scandal over tainted milk, Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday reassured the world that China will continue to offer safe products at home and abroad.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in the port city of Tianjin, Wen promised the government would also work to instill business ethics following the milk scandal.

"The incident is not over yet ... My government and I will lead our people through this hard journey," he said. "It's not just food or dairy ... We'll try to ensure that all China-made products are safe for consumers."

The scandal erupted this month after industrial chemical melamine, often used in plastics, was found in milk powder and linked to kidney stones in children. The chemical was also found in liquid milk, yogurt and other products.

Wen admitted the incident shows the country is still weak in the production supervision process. He said it is also a reminder for the government to pay attention to business ethics and social morality.

He said he was very moved when he saw in television European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson drinking a cup of Chinese milk on Friday to show his trust in China-made products. "It's because he not only sees the present, but the future as well," Wen said.

The Ministry of Health said that as of Saturday, 1,600 medical teams, with 8,000 members, had been dispatched to various parts of the country to search for and offer treatment to babies.

Chen Zhu, minister of health, said yesterday that hospitals had seen a major decline in the number of severely affected children due to timely treatment of the babies. He said among the diagnosed, 99.2 percent of the babies are aged below 3. But he didn't reveal the specific number.

The Ministry of Finance also said on Saturday that the central government will subsidize loans to dairy producers to promote raw milk purchases following the scandal. The lending rate from October to December will be reduced by 3.1 percent, or half of the six-month lending rate, the ministry announced. The move is aimed at helping dairy farmers recover losses, it said.

(For more biz stories, please visit Industries)