FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2008
Contact: HHS Press Office
HHS Opens Offices of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in China
As part of an ongoing strategy to continually improve import safeguards to meet the changing demands of a global economy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is this week officially opening offices of its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shangai in the People’s Republic of China. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D. will travel to the three cities this week to meet with manufacturers and Chinese government officials to discuss policy and governance reforms aimed at improving the safety of food and other consumer products. They will also mark the opening of the three offices, and introduce some of the HHS/FDA officials who will work there.
“We’re opening up a new era, not just new offices,” Secretary Leavitt said. “By having a presence in other parts of the world, we can work more closely with manufacturers and other governments, better share best practices and further ensure that quality and safety are built into food and consumer products at the point of manufacture.”
“A permanent FDA presence in China will help us address the challenges presented by globalization,” Commissioner von Eschenbach said. “We look forward to working with the Chinese government and manufacturers to ensure that FDA standards for safety and manufacturing quality are met before products ship to the United States.”
HHS is working to have an FDA presence in five geographic regions: China, India, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Recent Secretarial announcements and visits have highlighted HHS/FDA activities in these areas. During a visit to the Middle East in October, Secretary Leavitt announced that the FDA’s Middle East office will be headquartered in Amman, Jordan. In June, the Secretary and other HHS and FDA officials met with government and industry leaders from Central America and México at a summit on product safety in El Salvador to outline possible ways of working together more closely, including through a proposed memorandum of understanding.
In December 2007, the United States signed two Memoranda of Agreement on the safety of food, feed, drugs and medical devices with agencies of the Chinese government. The agreements, signed by Secretary Leavitt for the United States, contain a framework for closer collaboration between HHS/FDA and its Chinese counterpart agencies to help assure Chinese products under HHS/FDA jurisdiction that come to the United States will be safer. As a result, the transmission of information between the agencies of the two countries has especially improved, and they have worked more closely to address safety concerns.
Establishing a permanent HHS/FDA presence in China will greatly enhance the speed and effectiveness of regulatory cooperation and efforts to protect consumers in both countries. HHS/FDA officials will also assist the Chinese Government, as requested, in its ongoing efforts to improve its regulatory systems for exports to help assure product safety.
FDA has selected eight senior experienced FDA officials to work in its offices in China. The employees are inspectors and senior technical experts in foods, medicines and medical devices. The HHS/FDA office in Beijing will be located in the US Embassy. In Guangzhou, it will be located in the U.S. Consulate General, and in Shanghai it will be part of the U.S. consular mission there, but will be situated in the Shanghai Centre, a well-established business complex in the city where several other U.S. government agencies have staff.
For more information about HHS import safety initiatives, visit http://www.importsafety.gov/. For more information about HHS global health efforts, visit www.globalhealth.gov.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011