Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Economist on China's toxic export problem

The Economist, through teeth firmly clenched, admits that China has a product quality problem. Even so, with eyes firmly averted, they fail to note that Europe does not have problems with toxic food imports and they omit mention of cyanuric acid and melamine contamination of farm feed. Lastly, while quietly seizing, they reluctantly point out that (hurrah!) the lawyers are riding to our rescue ...
China's food safety |

...For foreign businesses, the lack of quality control in China is not someone else's problem. Several lawyers have argued that, since Chinese regulatory bodies are demonstrably unfit for purpose, any company accepting Chinese exports with official quality or safety certificates could theoretically be held liable for problems that subsequently emerge. Once again, this dilemma highlights the importance for companies of detailed knowledge of their supply chains in China, and of not taking documentary or verbal assurances at face value. To help deal with such challenges, bigger companies should establish their own internal quality-control mechanisms. But for smaller traders, the costs of such systems could undermine their profitability. For many importers then, the best acid test may well be that if a product's price looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Poor Economist. This is hard for them. The last bit, though, is worth all the omissions. Leave it to the law to figure out a way around the offshore legal shelter. In retrospect, I suppose this is like buying stolen goods from a crooked pawnshop. A reasonable buyer should know a genuine Rolex watch costs more than twenty-five dollars, a reasonable US manufacturer or importer should know that China's supply chains are not trustworthy. US manufacturers know juries will be ... sympathetic. Sympathetic, that is, to the heroic and soon to be extremely wealthy lawyers. It's rare to be able to earn so much money in the defense of the good.

A democratic legislative majority means the GOP will not be able to blunt the legal assault. Let loose the dogs of law ...

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