Reader Gerd Heinz responds to an item in our daily briefing yesterday about EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva’s threat the EU, China’s top trading partner, could block Chinese exports if their safety standards don’t go up:
It is surely correct that a lot of ‘rubbish products’ leave China. However, a lot of that is due to the greed of the importers.
They are often the ones who provide design and specifications to the Chinese manufacturers whom they also squeeze so hard repricing that they are forced to look for short-cuts to still make a bit of money. I don’t know how much they are paying the factories for a simple T-shirt these days for instance but there were times when they were bought at about US$2 and I cannot imagine that technology has enabled them to supply this item now for half or less when labour costs, direct and indirect ones, have gone up at the same time.
On the other hand the ‘nanny attitude’ of the EU is now declaring things as unsafe which a short while ago were still perfectly acceptable. I don’t know what qualifications Ms. Kuneva brings to her job – and she may be a very capable and charming lady for all I know – but I am afraid that she is in no way more qualified than for instance Mr. Mandelson [Peter Mandelson, EU Trade Commissioner].
A real pity that such amateur bureaucrats are not subject to public control and review.