The Netherlands reaches agreement with China on fireworks

The Netherlands reaches agreement with China on fireworks

It has become easier for the Netherlands to keep illegal and unsafe fireworks off the market. State Secretary Joop Atsma (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) signed an agreement today, Wednesday, 16 November, to improve the cooperation between Dutch and Chinese inspectors. The agreement pertains to the exchange of information and agreements on control and law enforcement between Chinese and Dutch inspectors.

State Secretary Atsma: “This agreement intensifies the already good collaboration and mutual trust between China and the Netherlands in the area of fireworks. We want to ensure that as few as possible substances and products which are harmful for both people and the environment find their way onto the Chinese, Dutch and European markets.”

The Netherlands is a big importer of Chinese fireworks. In 2010 some 55,000 tons of Chinese fireworks came onto the European market via the port of Rotterdam. The Netherlands has been working with the Chinese inspection service (AQSIQ) since 2008 to keep ‘sub-standard’ fireworks off the market. This has led to a decrease in the import of certain types of illegal fireworks from China. The agreement signed today should further improve the success rate. Because, in the span of four years, the number of injuries during the New Year’s celebrations in the Netherlands has fallen from more than 1,100 to 710. The amount of damage caused through the misuse of fireworks has also fallen from 43 million euros to 10 million. This has been accomplished while the trade in fireworks between the Netherlands and China has grown to 75 million euros in 2010.

The agreement is being signed by the AQSIQ (Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine), which is responsible for enforcing the standards for the quality of products that are imported into and exported from China, and VI and IVW, which are responsible for the environmental and safety requirements that are set for products and goods that are imported into and exported from Rotterdam – and therefore Europe. Through the early exchange of information and collaboration, the necessary supervision can be concentrated in the most effective place in the chain, thus limiting double inspections. In this way, efficient trade between the Netherlands and China is guaranteed and substances and products that are harmful for people and the environment are prevented from entering the Chinese and Dutch markets.

The agreement also opens the door to collaboration in other areas. State Secretary Atsma: “There are an increasing number of environmental requirements for things such as energy-related products – electronics for instance. The majority of these products are made in China. I am glad that China and the Netherlands are together exploring the possibilities for further collaboration.” The certification and packaging for the transport of dangerous substances are also a part of the agreement.

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