The US and China have are close to agreeing on an import safety deal that could be signed by 2008, AFP reported. US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said the two countries are in the "final phases" of negotiations and hope to sign the agreements at the next twice-yearly Strategic Economic Dialog in Beijing. Leavitt said the agreements would be "groundbreaking," but did not give details. In Beijing, a Chinese food safety official said the country's own food-quality monitoring systems are inadequate, and that only 10% of Chinese food producers made products that qualified for export. Li Chaowei, deputy head of the Import and Export Food Safety Bureau, made the statement at a seminar on the EU's rapid-alert food monitoring system. He said China was trying to improve its own systems by examining those of the EU, the US and Japan.