WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Thursday, February 22, 2018, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Department of Health of Canada (Health Canada), and the Consumer Protection Federal Agency of the United Mexican States (PROFECO) formalized their cooperative relationship through the ratification of a trilateral memorandum of understanding (MOU) [pdf]. The signing, involving CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle; Health Canada Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Health Canada Tolga Yalkin; and Profeco Federal Consumer Attorney Rogelio Cerda Pérez, took place at the annual meeting of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) in Orlando, Florida.
“I am thrilled that this signing took place in the presence of so many members of the product safety community from around the world,” said Buerkle. “The CPSC, Health Canada, and PROFECO have increased their level of cross-border cooperation as a result of outcomes from the North America Product Safety Summits held in 2011, 2013, and 2015. The resulting trilateral work has produced substantive, tangible outcomes benefiting consumers in all of North America, since consumer products flow easily across our shared borders. American consumers benefit from this cooperation to the extent that hazardous products do not find their way into the U.S. market. This also benefits our neighbors to the north and south. The MOU is intended to memorialize cooperative efforts already underway, as well as to facilitate future joint activities,” Buerkle added.
Products produced in North America or imported from outside, to any of the three countries, may easily find their way into another partner’s jurisdiction through our extensive shared borders. The MOU will facilitate better regulatory cooperation and technical exchanges among product safety authorities to share best practices and improve the potential for alignment of requirements at high levels of safety. For example, a recent project by the three agencies analyzed and recommended testing solutions for unaddressed hazards from wall outlet chargers for small electronic products – an initiative that will be expanded under the MOU to include other product areas for aligning approaches to safety. The CPSC’s efforts for U.S. consumers will also benefit from cooperation from Health Canada and PROFECO as the CPSC conducts targeted training on U.S. safety requirements for foreign suppliers in Canada and Mexico.
The growing volume of imported products in the United States and the increasing complexity and dynamism of global supply chains require a proactive and preventive approach by the CPSC to ensure that imported products are safe. During 2015, approximately 46 percent of all consumer products sold in the United States were imported (this represents an increase from 44 percent in 2012) and nearly 100 percent of toys consumed came from abroad, an increase from 98.6 percent in 2009 (latest data available). The value of consumer product imports under the CPSC’s jurisdiction from all countries reached about $737 billion in 2016. Imports decreased 2.5 percent from 2015. Imports rose 19 percent above 2007 totals, and 8 percent above 2011 imports Moreover, the great majority of consumer products recalled have been for imported goods.
The United States, Canada, and Mexico share the world's largest free trade area linking 450 million people producing $20 trillion worth of goods and services. This trade area is greater than the economic output of the 28 countries in the entire European Union. The value of imports of consumer products from Mexico and Canada, the United States’ two largest trading partners in the Western Hemisphere, totaled about $118.9 billion in 2016, representing 88 percent of total consumer product imports from the Western Hemisphere or 16 percent of total imports in 2016.
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Note to media: The agenda for the ICPHSO meeting in Orlando, February 20-23, can be found here: https://2018icphsoannualmeetingandtraini.sched.com/ The annual meeting features experts in keynote and panel formats addressing current product safety issues and policies, as well as emerging challenges for governments, industry, and consumers. For interview opportunities with featured ICPHSO speakers and attendees, contact ICPHSO Executive Director Marc Schoem, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-774-3020.