NOVEMBER 19, 2015
The national consumer product safety regulators of North America – Mexico’s Consumer Protection Federal Agency (PROFECO), the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Health Canada – view continued cooperation as the essential element for sustained progress in our joint product safety work. We have worked diligently to build on our success to date, so that together, we may better protect the people of North America.
On November 18 and 19, 2015, PROFECO hosted the Third North America Consumer Product Safety Summit in Mexico City (Mexico), in partnership with the CPSC and Health Canada. The aim of the Summit was to take stock of our progress under the North America Cooperative Engagement Framework (CEF) for 2013 to 2017, develop a path forward for additional collaboration, and encourage stakeholders in the region to work together toward a stronger culture of consumer product safety. This year’s Summit focused on customs cooperation, legal frameworks for recalls, international collaboration by nongovernment stakeholders, industry-adopted best practices, the role of voluntary product safety standards, and effective approaches to managing risk.
The importance of cooperation was initially highlighted at the first North America Consumer Product Safety Summit, held in Bethesda, Maryland (United States) in 2011, through the establishment of the first CEF. The second Summit, held in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) in 2013 expanded trilateral cooperation by focusing on operationalizing activities under the 2013 to 2017 Framework.
Expanding global and international trade means that more products continue to flow across our borders every year. This trend has created a need for greater collaboration to ensure the safety of products entering the North American marketplace from multiple points of entry. The 2013 to 2017 CEF set a structured approach through which all three regulators (PROFECO, CPSC and Health Canada) could share expertise and insights while working together to ensure the highest levels of safety for North American consumers.
Since the last Summit in 2013, the three government product safety organizations have made significant progress in their cooperative engagement, particularly in the following four areas:
Establishment of Joint Project Teams (JPTs): In 2014, four JPTs were established:
- Consumer Outreach;
- Industry Outreach;
- Laboratory Cooperation; and
- Customs Cooperation.
Within the scope of these JPTs, jurisdictions have worked together on inter-laboratory testing methods using the x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, joint exercises with customs, collaboration on consumer product safety issues, and joint outreach campaigns and events. Outreach topics have included sports safety, baby safety, toy safety, and poison prevention.
- Trilateral Recalls: Since 2013, the three countries have conducted seven trilateral recalls, three of which were announced simultaneously in all three markets, including the first-ever trilateral recall, which involved approximately 5 million unsafe strollers that posed amputation and laceration hazards.
- Early Consultation Initiative: In 2015, concrete steps were taken to enhance consultations and alignment among North American regulators on product hazards before regulatory and standards development activities.
- Information Sharing Activities: Consistent with each jurisdiction’s legal requirements, the three North American regulators have increased the flow of information shared with one another on consumer product safety issues and approaches, particularly in the area of import surveillance.
Regulators from the three jurisdictions will continue to work together, expanding and strengthening efforts as appropriate, to protect the safety of North American consumers and further the objectives under the CEF.
PROFECO, Health Canada, and the CPSC have identified several additional areas in which to enhance cooperation before the next Summit in 2018. They include:
- Developing further the three regulators’ joint capacity to engage in cross-border product safety and customs cooperation in order to prevent trade in hazardous products within North America.
- Improving industry’s practices regarding prompt notification of each relevant North American regulator, not just one of them, in cases when a company reports a hazard associated with a product distributed in two or more North American countries.
- Instituting procedures for sharing information about e-commerce vendors and suppliers whose products may pose a common threat to the safety of North American consumers.
- Developing a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding as a platform for sustained and increased cooperation on consumer product safety in North America.
While the level, intensity, and mechanisms of cooperative engagement outlined above will be subject to domestic priorities and the availability of resources, the three jurisdictions are committed to expanding our collaboration and building on the progress already achieved.