China moves to curb exportation of counterfeits

Presidents Hu and Kikwete
The government of China has set up a crack squad of inspectors that has been detailed to keep an eye on the quality of all consumer goods that are designed for export.

This is in a quest to flush out substandard, counterfeit and fake items that are destined for Tanzania or other countries.

The upshot is tailored to save Tanzanian and other consumers from the losses they suffer through purchases of offensive, substandard, counterfeit and fake goods.

The move will also save the economies of nations that import the goods and help restore the dignity of the Chinese government. 

This was said here yesterday by the Deputy Director General for the Department of West Asia and African Affairs in the Ministry of Commerce, Mr Cao Jiachang, when addressing visiting Tanzanian journalists at a press conference.

Mr Cao was bitter that unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers collude with greedy business people from Tanzania or other parts of the world to flood their local markets with substandard imports that are badly fashioned or are dangerous to health. He said that a competent team of inspectors will visit suspected manufacturers of substandard goods and blacklist offenders.

"All factories that will be found guilty of the offence of manufacturing substandard, counterfeit and fake goods will be closed down immediately and their owners will be prosecuted. 

It is a pity that these greedy manufacturers flood foreign markets with very poor consumer goods. These people ruin the economies of importing countries such as Tanzania, impoverish consumers and even expose their health to untold risks," Mr Cao said.

Highly dangerous imports from China include substandard or fake medicines, powder milk and electrical appliances that often start fires, to mention just a few. 

Other fake goods come in the form of building materials, cosmetics, soaps, soft drinks, canned foods, motor vehicle or other spare parts, tyres, paints, toys, textiles, shoes and others. The list is hard to close. Some substandard or fake goods are known to have caused deaths.

Mr Cao said that proven Chinese culprits who export offensive and highly dangerous goods to unsuspecting customers overseas are likely to face heavy legal punishments. It is these people who put the lives of people overseas at risk, hurt other nations' economies and, in the same vein, tarnish the good image of China. They also, by extension, hurt Chinese economy by portraying a false picture that "our export commodities are very bad."

Mr Cao caused laughter when he said that when he was living and working in Egypt an angry group of protesters trooped to his office and caused quite  a grim spectacle complaining that substandard, counterfeit and fake goods manufactured in China were impoverishing them and endangering their health. He said that the protesters' emotion-charged complaints hurt him and made him see the stink caused by unscrupulous Chinese exporters.

He, however, turned around and blamed import quality inspectors in Tanzania for not helping stem the rot. 

He wondered why Tanzanian inspectors do not identify bad imports, impound them and set them on fire.  He was of the view that some offensive goods find their way into the Tanzanian consumer market because inspectors turn a blind eye on them or allow them in through corrupt behaviour.

He called on the Tanzanian government to institute stringent laws against importation of substandard goods with harsh sentences on proven offenders. He was of the view that the problem may have taken root and escalated due to laxity in implementation of laws.  

The Chinese government has discovered that it is the Tanzanian business people who go to China and ask manufacturers to produce fake goods for their benefit.

He explained that some business people approach Chinese factory executives and specify the quality at which the goods they need should be pegged, often coming up with "very cheap" items that either last for a short time or fail to work. 

Others fall apart even before they reach their export destination.
Some counterfeit goods are highly dangerous to health. These include fake medicines, foods, drinks and cosmetics.

Mr Cao advised consumers to reject substandard, counterfeit and fake goods in the belief that the move would force importers to shunt in better quality items. However, experience has shown that most offensive goods look exactly like their genuine cousins. In most cases consumers buy even the most substandard goods in complete belief that they are the genuine brands.

Mr Cao said that the Chinese government would instruct its embassy in Dar es Salaam to study the situation closely and advice on the best cause of action.  He said that the idea in this regard is to ensure that the problem is rooted out. 

"We will cooperate closely with the government of Tanzania in fighting this aspect of wrongdoing," he said. "We will not rest until the problem has been shot down."
Source: The Daily News,http://www.dailynews.co.tz, reported by Sosthenes Mwita in Beijing

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