India tells US, it is conscious about quality, safety norms

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New Delhi, Jan 11 (UNI) India has clarified to the US that it is conscious about the importance of quality and conformity to safety norms, particularly for food and drugs consumed by people.

Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath told this to Secretary US Department of Health and Human Services Michael O Leavitt who came here last evening along with a delegation. This was done as the US had conveyed to India its serious concern over some of the ''unsafe'' and ''sub-standard'' products, particularly medicines and food items, being exported to that country.

Both the sides discussed the progress of ongoing cooperation in many US-India health and life sciences activities and the safety of consumer products, particularly in the fields of research, vaccine development and production.

During the discussions, Mr Nath referred to the setting up of a Working Group by the Planning Commission to focus on quality and food safety issues and recommendations for the implementation of good hygiene and good management practices, in a phased manner. He further stated that India and US have bilateral institutional frameworks to further trade that is India-US Trade Policy Forum and the India-US Commercial Dialogue.

As far as safety of drugs and medical devices exported from India to the US is concerned, Mr Nath explained that US FDA conducts thorough examination before certifying Indian facilities for production of goods destined for the US and also inspects them regularly.

Indian companies have always been very cooperative in verification of requisite standards.

Mr Leavitt had also met Ministers for Agriculture, senior government officials. While interacting with students and faculty of Jamia Millia Islamia, he had said yesterday that US was importing a very high percentage of products and goods, worth two trillion dollars, from across the world including India.

''The US has huge expectations from these products. But, a large number of these products were found to be unsafe and sub-standard.

We have to ensure that such products do not enter the US markets.

We have constituted a task force also in this regard,'' he said.

Prior to his current service, Mr Leavit was head of the US Environmental Protection Agency and served three terms as Governor of Utah. He organised a nationwide campaign to transform the Nation's healthcare sector into a value-driven healthcare system.

This was his first official visit to India.

UNI AJ BDP RN1805

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