U.S. to Monitor Product Safety in China

President Barack Obama welcomes China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan, left, gestures during the opening of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, Monday, July 27, 2009. The meetings are expected to expose sharp differences on trade and soaring U.S. budget deficits. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
U.S. regulators announced plans Thursday to set up a Beijing office to help ensure Chinese exports are safe for Americans following a slew of recalls involving everything from pet food to children's toys.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was seeking to establish a permanent presence overseas for the first time to better cooperate with Chinese regulators and companies so the country's products are up to U.S. standards, the agency's chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum said.

"We will have (commission) staff working in the embassy in Beijing to work with manufacturers and (Chinese regulators), so that we can continue our dialogue, communications and collaborative approach," she said in Hong Kong.

The office is ready to open in October but still requires China's final approval, according to commission officials.

The quality of China's exports came under international scrutiny in March 2007 after dog and cat deaths in North America were linked to a pet food ingredient made in China.

Concerns grew after potentially dangerous toxins and chemicals were found in products ranging from toothpaste to fish.

America's Mattel Inc. also recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys worldwide last year. Products including Barbie doll accessories and toy cars were pulled off shelves because of concerns about lead paint or tiny detachable magnets that could be swallowed by children.