Background and Partners
A global marketplace requires a global approach to the enforcement of product safety rules. That is why close cooperation has been developed between international partners, to exchange information on emerging risks and unsafe products, to coordinate standardisation efforts and to ensure that manufacturers worldwide are aware of the applicable safety requirements and comply with them.
As a part of this international effort the European Commission has been hosting a series of events to advance discussion on consumer product safety globally. This is called the International Product Safety Week and it has been taking place every second year, since 2006.
Growing international trade means that increasingly the same products are traded on markets across the world. Therefore, close cooperation is necessary between regulators globally in the area of consumer product safety to address together the challenges posed by increasingly complex supply chains and higher volumes of trade. In addition, cooperation with producer countries contributes to improving the safety of products already at the production phase ('at source').
Against this backdrop, the European Commission has developed bilateral relations with its main trading partners, i.e. the USA, China and Japan. Together with its Chinese and American counterparts the European Commission has also engaged in (high-level) trilateral discussions to build up mutual trust and to develop a coordinated response to the challenges faced in addressing product safety concerns.
The Commission pursues cooperation with other countries mainly through the international fora, 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.
The European Commission is now organising its fifth International Product Safety week. The events taking place during the 2014 International Product Safety week are arranged in partnership with the following organisations: ICPHSO - ICPSC - PROSAFE - General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine ( AQSIQ)- US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Founded in 1993, ICPHSO (pronounced IC - FA - SO) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven, and membership-based organization dedicated to providing fora 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 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: The international annual symposiums attract between 200-350 participants representing a broad cross-section of organizations and economies.
Please visit the ICPHSO website 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.
The Caucus meets twice a year often in conjunction with other international gatherings on consumer product safety.
Please visit the ICPSC website for more information.
ICPSC and OECD closely coordinate their product safety activities. Click here for the OECD product safety activities website.
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 European 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 product safety market surveillance actions ('Joint Actions') between various market surveillance organisations within the EEA ( European Economic Area), which are all financially supported by the EU Commission.
Please visit the Prosafe website for more information.
European Commission - AQSIQ and RAPEX China Working Group
Operation of the "RAPEX-CHINA" application and the follow-up of RAPEX notifications on unsafe products by the Chinese Authorities 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.
Follow this link for more information on the RAPEX-CHINA Working Group.
European Commission-AQSIQ-CPSC - the trilateral partners
The above authorities discuss product safety issues of joint concern at high level trilateral meetings. The Trilateral Summit taking place during the 2014 International Product Safety Week will be the 4th meeting of this kind.
Please click the following link for more information on Trilateral cooperation.