Archive for the ‘seafood’ Category

Vietnam: Exports Slow In Apparent World-Wide Recession

March 15, 2008

(Reauters) HANOI, March 15 – Vietnam’s trade deficit in the first three months of this year is forecast to rise 67 percent from a year ago to $7.5 billion, while exports are slowing due to a weak U.S. dollar and rising costs, a state-run newspaper said on Saturday.

Exports in the first quarter would grow 23.7 percent from a year earlier to $13.2 billion, slowing from a 29.2 percent rise in the first two months from a year ago, Pham The Dung, a manager at the Industry and Trade Ministry was quoted by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee-run Liberation Saigon daily as saying.

Boats are seen on Tra Khuc River in Quang Ngai Province, a central ...
Boats are seen on Tra Khuc River in Quang Ngai Province, a central part of Vietnam, Saturday, March 15, 2008.(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

Excluding crude oil, Vietnam’s top export item, exports would only rise 15 percent in the first three months, Dung, who heads the ministry’s Export and Import Department, told a ministry meeting with exporters in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday.

The widening trade gap “shows a government request to boost exports by 25 percent to around $60.7 billion would be achieved with difficulty”, the report quoted officials as saying at the meeting.

The Industry and Trade Ministry has raised its forecast for Vietnam’s annual trade deficit to $20 billion from $16.97 billion earlier projected. Last year, the gap more than doubled to $12.4 billion as imports jumped 35.5 percent to a record $60.8 billon.

A sampan is seen sailing near the container port in Ho Chi Minh ... 

Representatives from the cashew, seafood and plastics sectors said at the Friday meeting that the weak dollar coupled with rising production costs will disrupt production while the government tightens money supply to rein in inflation.

Read the rest:
http://malaysia.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20080315/tbs-vietnam-economy-deficit-4c42a9e.html 

China Trade Surplus Up Nearly 50%, Despite Safety Fears

January 11, 2008

BEIJING (AP) — China’s global trade surplus soared nearly 50 percent last year to a record despite an avalanche of safety warnings and recalls of Chinese-made products abroad, according to data reported Friday.

A busy street is pictured in Beijing's central business ...
A busy street is pictured in Beijing’s central business district. China’s trade surplus surged to a record 262.2 billion dollars last year, up 47.7 percent from 2006, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
(AFP by Teh Eng Koon)

The sharp rise could add to pressure on Beijing to act on currency controls and import barriers, and possibly fuel demands by some American lawmakers for trade sanctions.

The 2007 trade surplus ballooned to $262.2 billion, up 47.7 percent from 2006, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the General Administration of Customs. That was below the $300 billion figure forecast by some Chinese economists but came at a time of worldwide concern about the safety of Chinese goods ranging from toothpaste and seafood to tires and toys.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/11/business/
worldbusiness/11trade.html

Photo
A toy buyer looks at Chinese made toys at the Shanghai
Toy Expo in October, 2007.  Toxic and otherwise dangerous
toys from China slowed exports in 2007. 

China Moves to Improve Quality of Its Seafood

December 28, 2007
December 28, 2007
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SHANGHAI — Responding to growing global concerns about the quality and safety of its seafood, China said this week that it would introduce an array of production standards to improve safety and guard against the use of illegal veterinary drugs.An official of the Ministry of Agriculture said in a speech Thursday that the new standards would cover 100 categories, everything from breeding fish and seafood products to disease prevention and drug controls.

In the speech, the vice minister of agriculture, Niu Dun, said the agency would ….

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/28/business/worldbusiness/28fish.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Related:
Vietnam’s Catfish Farmers: Off The Hook

China: Farming Fish in Toxic Waters

Puffer fish sold as salmon kills 15

China boycott means no action figures, cheap trikes

October 22, 2007

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Instead of presents, Mary Naden gives her teenaged children skateboard lessons or takes them on outings — an effort, she says, to avoid buying goods made in China.

“I like my cheap goods, too, but there’s something that just sticks in my craw,” said Naden, 49, who lives in suburban Washington and works as a vocal coach.

In the wake of recalls of millions of toys with lead paint and other dangers, seafood tainted with chemical residues and toothpaste containing an antifreeze chemical, some U.S. consumers have become wary of Chinese goods.

A total of 75.8 percent of almost 1,000 people surveyed said they would not buy Chinese-made toys, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on October 17.

China seizes on Mattel apology to emphasize safety

September 24, 2007

BEIJING (Reuters) – China highlighted Mattel‘s apology over its recall of huge numbers of toys on Monday to press Beijing‘s claim that its exports are generally safe and foreign politicians and media have unfairly hyped quality scares.

Before those recalls, a spate of complaints involving unsafe Chinese products ranging from other toys and seafood to toothpaste that entered EU and U.S. markets prompted calls on both sides of the Atlantic for stricter scrutiny of made-in-China goods.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070924/hl_nm/
china_safety_dc_3

Related:
Lead Paint Danger in China Toys Worse Than First Thought

China Calls Toy Recall ‘Responsible’ But Doesn’t Itself Take Responsibility

August 23, 2007

By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press

BEIJING – China on Thursday said a global recall of millions of its toys was the responsible thing to do, but said that was the result of new industry standards — not poor quality.

Meanwhile, a Cabinet-level panel announced the launch of a nationwide safety campaign focused on food and drugs, as well as increased monitoring of exports. The measures underscored government efforts to win back consumer confidence.

Earlier this month, Mattel Inc. recalled almost 19 million Chinese-made items around the world including dolls, cars and action figures. Some were contaminated with lead paint….

Read the rest at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070823/ap_on_re_
as/china_tainted_products_31

“Trust, But Verify” Applies to China

August 23, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 22, 2007

President Ronald Reagan, when asked if he trusted his main communist adversary, the Soviet Union, coined the phrase “Trust, But Verify.”

That may be, in fact we think must be, the way all of the west should view today’s China.  A long series of product safety scandals rocked both China the producer and all other nations, since last December.  The lesson for the west certainly is, “Trust, But Verify.”

Last weekend, China’s director of product safety, the Most Honorable Li Changjiang said on China’s state TV network, “More than 99 percent of our goods meet standards.  Demonizing Chinese products, or talking of the Chinese product threat, I think is simply a new kind of trade protectionism.”

He went on to say, this last nine months of scandal and bad news about China’s products  was all “politically motivated, unfair, biased and poisoned by jealousy.”

Maybe so Most Honorable Li Changjiang, but since your TV appearance:

– The government of New Zealand began to investigate clothing imports from China after some were found to contain dangerously high levels of the chemical formaldehyde. Concentrations up to 900 times the normal safe level of formaldehyde were found in woolen and cotton clothes from China.  A Physician told us, on the condition of anonymity, “This level of formaldehyde is toxic, even cancer causing.”

– A Beijing factory was found to have recycled used chopsticks and sold up to 100,000 pairs a day without any form of disinfection.  This is so blatantly wrong and dangerous that no further comment is necessary.

-The U.S. corporation that imports SpongBob SquarePants journals made in China announced that the products contain toxic lead paint.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ordered a recall.

And just to remind you, Most Honorable Li Changjiang, on August 5, 2007, your deputy head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Hui Lusheng, said, “At present, the food safety situation has improved, yet is still serious.”

“Since last year reports of ‘red-yolk duck eggs’ and so on have often caused wide concern in society about food safety, and warned us that our country is in a period of high risk,” Hui said, referring to a contaminated egg scare.

“Dealing with and preventing food safety risks is a long-term, arduous and complicated project, which needs society to work together and comprehensive prevention,” she added.

Toys, toothpaste, cough syrup, seafood, eggs, pet food and a host of other products made in China have been found to be unsafe, poisonous or toxic since last December.

And China has been less than 100% truthful.  The truth is, China rarely if ever speaks the truth.  And now the world knows.

But many in the world knew before or should have known before.  And companies such as America’s Mattel Toy company did not do due diligence by properly verifying Chinese claims and thoroughly inspecting products made in China.  One Mattel executive, who asked us not to use his name, told us, “We lost control of the manufacturing process.”

Mattel forgot to inspect and verify.

We consulted with a manufacturing process and quality specialist with experience in China who told us, “I found it impossible to get companies in China to acknowledge that foreign customers needed to exert some control over the process and thus the product.  The Chinese just would not listen.  Now they are reaping the result.”

The process engineers finished with this: “It is quite impossible for any Chinese official to guarantee anything in China because of the lack of control that the government has and the lack of standards we take for granted in the west.”

Pssst.  American companies: you cannot trust China.  You have to verify.

So Pssst.  China!  Get with the rest of the world.  Join the 21st century.  Abide by our product requirements.  Read, understand and follow the specifications.  Enforce your laws, make new regulations where needed, admit the truth and wash your hands!

End Note: America, Great Britain, Japan and other nations need to apply President Reagan’s “Trust, But Verify” rule to China’s military.  The amount of military spending and types of weapon development projects in China are cloely guarded secrets.  We need to do some verification.

Related:
Bacteria Filled Chopsticks Found in New China Scare

China Made SpongeBob Products Toxic; RecalledNew Zealand investigates formaldehyde content in Chinese clothing importsChina turns safety drive to dirty restaurantsChina’s military build-up could threaten regional security: US commanderPuffer fish sold as salmon kills 15

Senator urges Bush to halt some China imports

August 17, 2007

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sen. Christopher Dodd, a Democratic presidential candidate, urged President George W. Bush on Friday to suspend imports of food, toys and pet food from China after a spate of safety scares.

In a Democratic primary race that has featured calls to get tough on China over trade and food safety, Dodd is the first to call for imports to be halted.

“I strongly urge you to take immediate steps to temporarily halt these imports from China….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070817/pl_nm/china_safety_senator_dc_1

China: You Won’t Get The Truth

August 8, 2007

Today, August 8, 2007, we are one year away from the opening of the Summer Olympics 2008 in Beijing, China.

America will be greatly influenced by the National Broadcasting Sytem’s reports, promos and advertisements about the Olympics and China, to say nothing about the activities and reports surrounding the Games themselves.

What China does not want westerners to see or hear is any negative reporting about China. The issue of Human Rights, for example, is not allowed on any agenda.

Just remember: NBC has no obligation to say anything but that which is self-serving. And, because millions of dollars are at stake and China can shut down any media outlet at any time because there is no freedom of the press in China, you’ll see scores of reports from NBC that resemble the sucking-up one generally finds only among teenage male suitors. China is more than NBC’s bride and prize in this money making affair: China is the Golden Goose.

The essay below, published in today’s Washington Times, is my singular effort to provide some balance and perspective on China and that massive country’s government and culture of corruption.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 8, 2007
Photo

China: Less Than the Whole Truth
By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
August 8, 2007

With a public relations scandal involving food and other product safety looming if not already roiling for China on June 12, 2007, the Vice Minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in China said, “We can guarantee food safety.”

Starting in December 2006, news media had reported to the world on tainted (poisonous) products manufactured and exported from China. China denied the allegations but a steady “drip, drip, drip” of news revealed tainted pet foods, seafood, toothpaste, medical supplies, children’s custard and even children’s toys painted with lead based paint.

But, by still claiming that food products from China were completely safe last June, China in fact demonstrated that it “didn’t get it.” China doesn’t know what almost every experienced American movie star, politician and prominent sports figure knows or will soon hear about as soon as a scandal breaks: come clean.

On August 4, 2007, the official China news agency Xinhua quoted the deputy head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Hui Lusheng, as saying “Dealing with and preventing food safety risks is a long-term, arduous and complicated project.” Finally, a probably reliable admission from China.

Why does China “not get it”? Why, when a crisis or scandal breaks, does China at first issue a denial and only reverse course once the mess is a firestorm?

First, China does not have a fully free and open media. During many scandals, especially largely internal scandals, China gets away without telling the truth or suffering consequences.

The second reason many believe that China generally denies the truth to escape responsibility and public scorn is more complicated, cultural and deeply rooted in the communist system.

Because China and other communist countries have no free and open elections, the communist party and its officials stay in power using a system of coercion, force and putting down public unhappiness – sometimes ruthlessly and violently.

Public confidence among the Chinese in their government is not widespread. Public obedience from the countryside to edicts from Beijing are often ignored.

China has another problem: with 1.3 billion people and an immense land mass, seemingly small problems are often found to be huge.

In last spring’s tainted pet food scandal, China at first denied any wrongdoing.

But western reporters found that the pet food was largely poisoned by a product called melamine, which is used in fertilizer and plastics. Using melamine, Chinese manufacturers reduced production costs while still charging customers top dollar: as if beef or other high quality protein products had been used in the pet food.

Melamine is a prohibited substance in American pet food according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, melamine is a widely accepted fertilizer in China. And farmers mix it into livestock feed, pet food and other products because it is plentiful, inexpensive and usually undetected.

When the reporters in China followed up on this story, they asked some farmers why China couldn’t just stomp out those few using melamine. Farmers told them everyone used melamine this way since the 1950s. The reporters wrote their findings under the headline, “Filler in Animal Feed Is Open Secret in China.”

The China government has a three phase plan for dealing with a crisis. The food safety scandal gives us a perfect example.Phase one is denial, phase two is a flurry of activity that does little good but serves to distract the media, and phase three is the “come clean and solve (or at least seem to solve) the problem phase.”In 2003, China faced an epidemic of a disease called Severe Acute Reparatory Syndrome (SARS).

As the story broke that the disease was reaching epidemic proportions in Vietnam and Singapore, China didn’t make a sound.

Then China started issuing denials. Sure enough, after many denials of any medical problem in China, news reports began to come out of China that it, too, was experiencing SARS but that the problem was being competently managed. Phase two was on.

Near the end of the crisis China began to escort news people around hospitals and other facilities to demonstrate the professionalism and medical readiness of China’s system.

It was then that many realized the government of China responded the same way to every crisis. I documented my conclusions in a Washington Times commentary on Sunday, May 4, 2003.

Recall the Bird Flu crisis? Phases One, Two and Three were used again.

The bottom line is this: China has now established the unenviable record as a government that cannot be trusted in many cases: especially when a crisis darkens China’s door.

John E. Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc. and a frequent contributor to the Washington Times. He has lived in and studied China.

The article above appears in the Washington Times today, August 8, 2007, at:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070808/COMMENTARY/108080004

Related:

Human rights questions remain for China

China, Vietnam and Russia: Torrid Economies, Rampant Lawlessness

China Planning a Surreal Facade for Summer Olympic Games: Beijing 2008

China Awarded First Olympic Gold Medal (In Human Rights Abuse)

People Living Under Communism: Very Limited Rights (If Any)

In this run up to the Beijing Summer Olympics over the course of the next year, you’ll see many “happy face” “news” reports from westerners in China. As I was writing the essay above, Meredith Viera of the NBC TODAY show was sampling food in China during a report from China. Of course, NBC has a huge contract to televise the 2008 Summer games and is in no position to offer any criticism or balanced and rational reporting from China.

So there is a different view of China, an alternative to NBCs, that needs to be known and understood.

And oh, by the way: The web sites of The Washington Times and Peace and Freedom are “blocked ” in China and unavailable to internet users inside China.

China: At Long Last Admits Food Safety Clean Up Will Be “Arduous,” Long Term

August 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 5, 2007

With a public relations scandal looming if not already roiling for China on June 12, 2007, Li Dongsheng, the Vice Minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in China, told reporters in China that China had developed “very good, very complete methods” to regulate product safety.

“We can guarantee food safety,” Vice Minister Li Dongsheng concluded.China demonstrated, by that statement and many similar denials and public announcements, that it “didn’t get it.” China doesn’t know what almost every experienced American movie star, politician and prominent sports figure know or will soon hear about as soon as a scandal break: come clean.

Noted Public Relations and Crisis Management professional Jonathan Bernstein wrote in an article written for Bernstein Communications, “the role of public relations … is to help stabilize that environment by developing messages and public relations strategy which results in prompt, honest, informative and concerned communication with all important audiences – internal and external.”

Today, after months of further developments in the scandal, the official China news agency Xinhua quoted the deputy head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Hui Lusheng, as saying “At present, the food safety situation has improved, yet is still serious.”

“Since last year reports of ‘red-yolk duck eggs’ and so on have often caused wide concern in society about food safety, and warned us that our country is in a period of high risk,” Hui said, referring to a contaminated egg scare.

“Dealing with and preventing food safety risks is a long-term, arduous and complicated project, which needs society to work together and comprehensive prevention,” she added.

Why does China “not get it”? Why, when a crisis or scandal breaks, does China at first issue a denial and only reverse course once the mess is a firestorm?

First, China does not have a fully free and open media. During many scandals, China gets away without telling the truth or suffering consequences. But once the international media digs in its teeth, China generally suffers public and world wide embarrassment.

The second reason many believe that China generally denies the truth to escape responsibility and public scorn is more complicated, cultural and deeply rooted in the communist system.

Because China and other communist countries have no free and open elections, the communist party and its officials stay in power using a system of coercion, force and putting down public unhappiness.

In other words, public confidence in the government is not widespread. Many times public confidence in communist governments is based upon lies, loyalty to the government in exchange for jobs and other rewards, or other questionable bases of loyalty.

China has another problem: with 1.3 billion people and an immense land mass, seemingly small problems are often found to be huge.

In last spring’s tainted pet food scandal, China at first denied any wrongdoing.

But reporters from the New York Times, David Barboza and Alexei Barrionuevo,  found that the pet food was largely poisoned by a chemical reaction which included a product called melamine, which is used in fertilizer and plastics, mixed with wheat glutin. Using this formula, China could raise the protein level in food products, and eliminate more expensive meat.  In fact, for many years melamine was available to Chinese farmers without cost. 

Chinese manufacturers thus reduced production costs while still charging cutomers top dollar: as if beef or other high quality products had been used in the pet food.

Melamine is a prohibited substance in American pet food according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, melamine is a widely accepted fertilizer in China. And farmers mix it into livestock feed, pet food and other products because it is plentiful, inexpensive and usually undetected.

When the New York Times reporters in China followed up on this story, they asked some farmers why China couldn’t just stomp out those few using melamine. Farmers told them everyone used melamine this way since the 1950s. The use of melamine is not restricted to a few isolate production houses: it is everywhere in Chinese agriculture, according to sources inside China.

Finally, many believe that there is a “culture of corruption” within China that has a tendency to bend public pronouncements toward what the public wants to hear and not toward the truth.

We’ve written about this previously and invite readers to read some and decide for themselves.
as saying.

Related:

Distrustful of China’s Government at Almost Every Turn

Recall of China-made toys unnerves parents

Rights groups shine Olympic spotlight on China

China: Trying to Fight ‘Culture of Corruption’ with Confucius

China: Culture of Corruption a Problem

China showcases transformed army

What Does Beijing’s Communist Central Government Consider a “Threat”?

Filler in Animal Feed Is Open Secret in China:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/30/
business/worldbusiness/30food.html?ex=1335585600&en=dd852b2af8137ac7&ei=
5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

A Western Success Story in Scandal Management
By Reyna Susi

In October of 1982, Tylenol, the leading pain-killer medicine in the United States at the time, faced a tremendous crisis when seven people in Chicago were reported dead after taking extra-strength Tylenol capsules. It was reported that an unknown suspect/s put 65 milligrams of deadly cyanide into Tylenol capsules, 10,000 more than what is necessary to kill a human.

The tampering occurred once the product reached the shelves. They were removed from the shelves, infected with cyanide and returned to the shelves.

In 1982, Tylenol controlled 37 percent of its market with revenue of about $1.2 million. Immediately after the cyanide poisonings, its market share was reduced to seven percent.

Once the connection was made between the Tylenol capsules and the reported deaths, public announcements were made warning people about the consumption of the product.

Johnson & Johnson was faced with the dilemma of the best way to deal with the problem without destroying the reputation of the company and its most profitable product.

Following one of our guidelines of protecting people first and property second, McNeil Consumer Products, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, conducted an immediate product recall from the entire country which amounted to about 31 million bottles and a loss of more than $100 million dollars.

Additionally, they halted all advertisement for the product.

Although Johnson & Johnson knew they were not responsible for the tampering of the product, they assumed responsibility by ensuring public safety first and recalled all of their capsules from the market. In fact, in February of 1986, when a woman was reported dead from cyanide poisoning in Tylenol capsules, Johnson & Johnson permanently removed all of the capsules from the market.