The EU and China have agreed a memorandum of understanding on product safety, including food products.

The memorandum is a voluntary agreement between legislators on food and non-food product safety, which aims to promote common interests and enhance the safety of products traded between the regions. It provides the basis for the establishment of a consultation and cooperation mechanism, which will help in reaching solutions to any trade problems and in forging a common view on safety standards.

China is the EU’s second largest trading partner, accounting for 8.8% of total trade in 2004. Food products and consumer goods such as electrical items, toys, household items and clothing, make up a large proportion of the EU’s imports from China.

In 2004, the EU imported over €2bn (US$2.34bn) worth of Chinese agricultural goods, food and processed food, while exporting over €1bn worth of these products to China – almost triple the 1997 figure. The aim of the memorandum of understanding is to generate reciprocal confidence and trust when it comes to trade in these products, through improved contact between the EU and Chinese authorities.