International Cooperation overview
A global market place requires a global approach to the enforcement of product safety rules. That is why we have developed close cooperation with our international partners, to exchange information on emerging risks and unsafe products, coordinate standardisation efforts and to ensure that manufacturers worldwide are aware of the applicable safety requirements and comply with them.
Growing international trade means that increasingly the same products are traded on markets across the world. Therefore, we believe that closer cooperation between global regulators in the area of consumer product safety is necessary to address together the challenges posed by increasingly complex supply chains and higher volumes of trade.
With our main trading partners, i.e. the USA, China and Japan, we have developed bilateral relationships to underline the importance of close cooperation on product safety.
Together with our Chinese and American counterparts we have engaged in (high-level) trilateral discussions to build up mutual trust and to develop a coordinated response to the challenges we face in addressing product safety concerns.
We pursue cooperation with other countries mainly through international forums, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its Consumer Policy Committee (CCP), the International Consumer Product Safety Caucus (ICPSC) and the International Consumer Product Safety and Health Organisation (ICPSHO), which is a multi-stakeholder forum.
Partner organisations: ICPHSO – ICPSC – OECD – PROSAFE – AQSIQ
Founded in 1993, ICPHSO (pronounced IC - FA - SO) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven, and membership-based organization dedicated to providing forums for the exchange of ideas and information on health and safety issues related to consumer products that are manufactured and marketed in the global marketplace.
ICPHSO's unique non-partisan and inclusive approach to product health and safety dialogues draws participation from government agencies, manufacturers, industry and trade associations, professional services firms, academia, standards developers, consumer advocates, retailers, testing organizations, and interested individuals.
Because product health and safety issues transcend geographic boundaries, ICPHSO encourages participation from interested parties around the globe. ICPHSO's efforts in this regard are reflected in the diversity of participants, who today represent nearly 20 economies around the world.
International Annual Symposium: Since 2005, ICPHSO has hosted symposiums outside of the United States in support of international dialogue on product health and safety matters. Such international symposiums to date have been held in North America ( Canada), Europe ( Belgium, The Netherlands and England), and Asia ( China and South Korea). The international annual symposiums attract between 200-350 participants representing a broad cross-section of organizations and economies.
Please see http://www.icphso.org/index.html for more information.
Membership of the International Consumer Product Safety Caucus (ICPSC) is open to consumer product safety regulators and market surveillance authorities anywhere in the world. It exists to facilitate the exchange of information on consumer product safety issues in the area of governmental policy, legislation and market surveillance with a view to strengthening the collaboration and cooperation among consumer product safety regulatory and market surveillance agencies around the world. There is no fee or obligating document. ICPSC members come from jurisdictions in Asia, Australasia, North and South America and Europe.
DG SANCO currently holds the Chairmanship of the Caucus, which meets twice a year often in conjunction with other international gatherings on consumer product safety.
Please see http://www.icpsc.org/ for more information.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides a setting where governments compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and coordinate domestic and international policies.
The OECD has been hosting talks amongst regulators on product safety for a number of years. The European Commission has taken an active part in this process.
On 23 July 2010 the OECD Working Party on Consumer Product Safety was created. A DG SANCO representative has been appointed as one of the Vice-Chairs. The working party's task is to implement a ten point action plan set out by the OECD report on enhancing information sharing on consumer product safety.
The experts of the working party have designed a web-based global recalls database, which will be launched during the International Product Safety Week 2012. The portal has been tailored to meet the needs of product safety agencies, but it will also be open to the public.
The portal includes a mechanism whereby countries will be able to regularly inform each other of major policy developments.
Please see http://www.oecd.org/sti/consumer-policy/productsafety for more information.
PROSAFE (the Product Safety Enforcement Forum of Europe) has been established by market surveillance officers from throughout Europe to facilitate the cooperation between them in order to improve product and service safety. The first meeting of the group was held in 1990. Since then, most EU and EFTA countries have been represented at meetings together with various accession, candidate and potential candidate countries from different parts of Europe. In order to ensure a high level of transparency, the EU Commission and EFTA Secretariat have standing invitations to attend meetings and workshops.
As from 2006, PROSAFE has taken the initiative to coordinate a number of Joint Actions between various market surveillance organisations within the EEA ( European Economic Area), which are all financially supported by the EU Commission.
Please see http://www.prosafe.org/ for more information.
Operation of the "RAPEX-CHINA" application and the follow-up of RAPEX notifications on unsafe products are discussed at regular meetings of the RAPEX-CHINA Working Group established under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2006 by DG SANCO and AQSIQ (the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China).
Please see http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_safe/news/rapex_china_en.pdf for more information.