By Eric Biegon in Guangzhou China.
The quality of products made in China and shipped to many parts of the world, has continuously received diverse responses and in many instances they have been branded substandard or of poor quality. On more than one occasion, Africa has been labeled a “dumping ground” for the said products.
This vindictive tag, without a doubt, has jolted the Chinese government.
In a sharp response to these injurious allegations, the Beijing based administration vehemently shields the quality of “Made in China”, asserting that it is of high standard.
“Chinese products are of good quality. In fact the quality keeps improving. More and more Chinese products are being exported to the rest of the world.” An official from the country’s Foreign affairs ministry said.
Nonetheless, the Beijing based administration acknowledges that there exists business individuals, both Chinese and African, acting as middlemen, who are always eager to make a kill if opportunity arises.
“We are not happy to see that some substandard products are made and exported to Africa. We are angered by the continuous production and distribution of such goods.” Said Mr. Luo Jun, who is the Deputy Director General of Guangdong foreign affairs department.
Equally upset by this state of affairs, Beijing officials charge that China is hurting just as much as the developing countries in Africa and other affected nations of the world.
“They are heavily polluting our environment while undermining the good reputation of Chinese products.” He charged.
The officer confirmed that the last few years have witnessed a surge in labor costs and the net effect is that prices of products have gone up. In order to make a lot of quick money, some of the business people will export low quality products to Africa given that it is what a large number of people can easily afford.
To arrest the situation from getting out of hand, Mr. Luo, who was flanked by other Chinese top ranking officials at a press briefing in Guangzhou, disclosed that China has been reviewing its regulations in a bid to make trade in substandard goods a criminal offense with severe punishment.
In his opinion, it will be extremely difficult for someone to commit the offense and get away with it even as he dismissed claims that China lacks a framework to deal with these crimes.
“At the moment goods to be exported out of the country get checked by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). Everyone must get a certificate of origin.” He says
This document according to Chinese authorities is a must-have for all business people involved in export of products. And this is exactly why Beijing is calling for extra caution by customs officials in local countries which have opened doors to China-made products.
“At the borders, we want authorities to check the goods. Check their certificate of origin. Where they are from. If they have a bad record let us know.” He said
“Poor quality goods should not be allowed to be exported. Certificate of Origin is very important. If no certificate of origin is provided, goods must be blocked.” Luo reiterated.
But there is another challenge to this endeavor as it appears that it is increasingly becoming so problematic to determine personal goods from those to be traded.
“We still have problems. People send products from China to Africa by express mail through parcels. These are not checked as commercial goods. The certificate of origin may not be required.” He disclosed
Yet most individuals who send goods by this means may not be genuine. Luo says certain people claim to send parcels to their relatives back home and therefore do not warrant inspection.
“Even if it is poor or of good quality, you will send it. This is a huge challenge to every country.” He said
He cautions that everyone must be on alert exercising extreme care especially when the prices of commodities are unreasonably lower.
But aside from the products of poor quality, another major challenge facing Made in China is counterfeit goods. Authorities are concerned that a number of them are labeled in Chinese brands when in the real sense they don’t originate from China.
To crack down on this illegal business, China adopted two approaches, both administrative and criminal.
The administrative approach deals mainly in cases where small amount of money is involved. Here, the business administration bureau can levy some administrative punishment. For instance, it can take away the counterfeit products, or institute small fines to its producers.
The Criminal approach on the other hand deals with cases involving large amounts of money. These cases are regarded as serious crimes and people involved face nothing but severe criminal punishment.