Original Press Release
U.S., Canada, and Mexico Strengthen Consumer Product Safety Across North America
Press release date: October 6, 2011
CPSC Hosts First North America Consumer Product Safety Summit
On September 26-27, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) hosted its Canadian and Mexican counterparts - Health Canada and the Consumer Protection Federal Agency of the United Mexican States (Profeco) - for a consumer product safety summit aimed at strengthening consumer protections across North America. The First North America Consumer Product Summit provided an opportunity for product safety leaders of these countries to lay out their shared visions for enhanced consumer product safety cooperation.
Since the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entered into force in 1994, trade between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners has soared. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, NAFTA links 450 million people and $17 trillion worth of goods and services, creating the world's largest free trade area.
In recognition of the increasing volume and complexity of global trade, the three agencies issued a joint statement promoting greater cooperation in ensuring the safety of products made and sold across North America. Specifically, CPSC, Health Canada, and Profeco agreed to explore opportunities for further collaboration with regard to six areas:
--proposed regulations and voluntary standards; --risk assessment; --import and market surveillance; --training and outreach within and outside North America; --coordinated consumer awareness campaigns; and --consultation on potential joint recalls or corrective actions.
"We are facing common challenges and opportunities to promote product safety, and we can be more effective in protecting consumers in the United States and across North America through collaboration and being proactive," said CPSC chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "If products can be regulated in a harmonized manner and emerging hazards can be addressed swiftly, then consumers in all three countries can benefit."
During the summit, CPSC also renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Profeco aimed at reducing the unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products. An MoU with Health Canada remains in effect.
NAFTA FACTS Canada and Mexico were the top-two purchasers of U.S. exports in 2010, with Canada accounting for $248.2 billion and Mexico accounting for $163.3 billion.
U.S. goods exports to NAFTA in 2010 were $411.5 billion - up 23.4% ($78 billion) from 2009, 149% from 1994 (the year prior to Uruguay Round), and 190% from 1993 (the year prior to NAFTA). U.S. exports to NAFTA accounted for 32.2% of overall U.S. exports in 2010.