U.S., Canada and Mexico Join Forces to Strengthen Consumer Product Safety Across North America
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U.S., Canada and Mexico Join Forces to Strengthen Consumer Product Safety Across North America

Friday, October 21, 2011By Richard Alexander
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Health Canada, and the Consumer Protection Federal Agency of the United Mexican States (Profeco) concluded a first-of-its-kind consumer product safety Summit that was aimed at strengthening the protections for children and consumers throughout North America. The three federal agencies with jurisdiction over consumer products in the United States, Canada, and Mexico issued a joint statement (Español) (pdf) promoting greater cooperation and engagement in ensuring the safety of products made and sold across North America.

According to the U.S. Trade Representative, the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico created the world’s largest free trade area, linking 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services. The increasing volume of global trade and the complexity of global supply chains require cooperation among consumer product safety authorities. The organizations agreed to explore further opportunities for collaboration in the following six areas:

  • consultation on proposed regulations and voluntary standards,
  • cooperation on risk assessment,
  • cooperation on import and market surveillance,
  • cooperation on training and outreach within and outside North America,
  • coordinated consumer awareness campaigns, and
  • consultation on potential joint recalls or corrective actions.

“We are facing common challenges and opportunities to promote product safety, and we can be more effective in protecting consumers in the United States and across North America through collaboration and being proactive,” said CPSC’s Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.

“Having real intelligence to identify product safety risks is vital to reassure the consumers of our countries that we have secure borders, and companies that are committed to the consumer,” said Profeco’s Federal Consumer Attorney, Bernardo Altamirano Rodríguez.

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Imports from Mexico and Canada accounted for the second and third largest shares, respectively, of imported consumer products likely to be under CPSC jurisdiction. Both countries share major land borders with the U.S. and products produced in or imported from outside North America to any of our three countries may easily find their way into another partner’s jurisdiction.

“If products can be regulated in a harmonized manner and emerging hazards can be addressed swiftly, then consumers in all three countries can benefit”, said Chairman Tenenbaum.

the joint statement (Español) (pdf) was issued during the First North America Consumer Product Summit hosted by the CPSC. The Summit provided an opportunity for product safety leaders of these countries to lay out their shared visions for enhanced consumer product safety cooperation. Chairman Tenenbaum also noted that the Summit serves as a practical demonstration of support for the principles behind President Obama’s Regulatory Cooperation Council initiatives between the United States and Canada and the United States and Mexico.

During the Summit, CPSC also renewed its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (pdf) with Profeco. The MOU describes a framework of cooperation with the goal of reducing the unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products CPSC already has a MOU with Health Canada in effect.

Dignitaries at the First North America Consumer Product Summit

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals - contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, go online to: www.saferproducts.gov, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain this news release and product safety information at www.cpsc.gov. To join a free e-mail subscription list, please go to https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.

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