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China to start crackdown on product safety

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A rescuer works at the site of an explosion at a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui County of Yancheng, east China’s Jiangsu Province on March 22. Xinhua

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China will launch a nationwide inspection into the safety of industrial products like food packaging and hazardous chemicals, market regulators said on Monday, the country’s latest effort to allay public concerns after two deadly blasts last month.

The State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) said in a notice on its website that maintaining quality and safety of major industrial products would “provide a solid guarantee of social stability, promote high-quality development and meet public demand for a good life”.

The campaign will last until October and focus on “high-risk industrial products”, as well as systemic, regional or industry-wide safety risks. It said it would increase scrutiny of manufacturers and operators of high-risk products and look at the use of explosion-proof electrics and structures.

Firms that prove incapable of making the required rectifications will have their operation licenses revoked, the notice said.

Two deadly blasts in eastern coastal Jiangsu province killed 85 people and injured dozens more last month, putting China’s rapidly expanding but sometimes ramshackle chemical industry under intense scrutiny.

The government has already launched a month-long inspection campaign into hazardous chemical production after a blast at a pesticide plant killed 78 people.

The local government of Yancheng will shut down the chemical industry park where the blast occurred, the state news agency Xinhua said. Dozens of other industrial parks and hundreds of other small chemical manufacturers are also expected to be closed, state-owned tabloid Global Times reported yesterday.

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