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Firms are treated equally: Watchdog

Updated: 2012-03-21 07:57

By Jin Zhu (China Daily)

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The Chinese government applies the same policies and regulations to all manufacturers and retailers based in the country, quality watchdog chief Zhi Shuping said on Tuesday.

"The Chinese government regards both joint ventures and domestic enterprises as Chinese enterprises. Therefore, both will be held responsible for any violations of the country's laws and regulations," he said.

Zhi made the remarks at a news conference in Beijing jointly held by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers.

His words were in response to a question about why the 315 Evening Gala program aired on March 15 by China Central Television seemed to focus on wrongdoing by international companies.

On the program, employees at a McDonald's restaurant in the Sanlitun area of Beijing were shown changing the expiry dates on packages and resetting storage timers to keep expired food longer.

The supermarket chain Carrefour has also been accused of deceiving consumers by selling expired meat.

Some major Chinese brands, including China Merchants Bank and China Telecom, were among the companies reported in the program, shown on International Consumer Rights Day.

"Such exposure is quite balanced, since both foreign and Chinese firms are involved. And of all the problem products exposed in the program, those manufactured by Chinese enterprises accounted for a bigger share," Zhi Shuping said.

Also on Tuesday, John Dalli, the EU commissioner for health and consumer policy, said he had not received any quality complaint about Italian olive oil, which was reported in January to have been mixed with lower quality oil from other Mediterranean countries.

China and the EU have decided to jointly launch a product safety surveillance system for consumer products, aside from food products, the news conference was told.

The system will cover the industrial chain from manufacturers to consumers.