A year after the first of a series of tainted food and drug scandals, each of which originated in China and ending with the U.S. consumer, the U.S. government has given itself permission to set up an office in China to monitor imports.
Now, it just needs approval from the Chinese government.
In one of the more surprisingly bureaucratic press releases issued by a federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration announced late Friday (the best time to announce something you prefer the press ignores or downplays) an "important development": The State Department, just down the hall in some Washington corridor, had granted it permission to hire eight people to staff U.S. diplomatic posts in China.
Here's the press release:
In an important development, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received approval from the U.S. State Department to establish eight full time permanent FDA positions at U.S. diplomatic posts in the Peoples Republic of China, pending authorization from the Chinese government.
This is an important step forward in the FDAs plans to hire and place FDA staff in China over the next 18 months. In addition, the FDA will be hiring a total of five local Chinese nationals to work with the new FDA staff at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulates General in Shanghai and Guangzhou.
In an age when a border is not a barrier, the globalized economy demands nothing less than heightened regulatory interoperability, information exchange, and cooperation, especially on product quality and enforcement matters, said Murray M. Lumpkin, M.D., deputy commissioner for International and Special Programs, FDA. Along with the important Memoranda of Agreement signed with two FDA counterpart Chinese agencies, our efforts to fill permanent FDA positions in China are a significant step toward ensuring access to safe food, drugs, and medical devices in the global market.
Building the FDAs capacity outside of the United States supports the agencys Beyond our Borders initiative. The initiative facilitates the building of stronger cooperative relationships with the FDAs counterpart agencies around the world and enhanced technical cooperation with foreign regulators. The permanent overseas offices in China will also allow greater access for inspections and greater interactions with manufacturers to help assure that products that are shipped to the United States meet U.S. standards for safety and manufacturing quality.
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