Monday, September 10, 2007

Ethical Corporation: Asia-Pacific Roundup

Some of the highlights of EC's:

News in brief – Asia-Pacific September 2007
This month’s review of the region’s biggest business and society stories

China has introduced new food safety regulations in response to rising international criticism about the quality of Chinese products. Under new rules, guilty food exporters can be fined three times the product’s value. Importers, too, will face severe penalties for allowing unsafe goods into the country, and risk having foreign suppliers blacklisted.

Inspection and quarantine authorities will have to keep detailed records on food exporters and submit regular reports. Local governments will be charged with supervising food safety.

… but faces more boycotts

Indonesia has banned Chinese food supplements, cosmetics and medicines after local authorities found mercury, rhodamin and formalin in the products.

Malaysia, the third largest buyer of Chinese products, has imposed stricter tests for “made in China" goods.

Singapore has suspended imports of some foodstuffs made in China, and warned residents about buying salted duck and century eggs from China, which were found to be contaminated with cancer-causing Sudan dye.

In July, Filipino authorities confiscated a container-load of frozen vegetables, meat products, Peking ducks and pigeons from China that were declared as French fries from Hong Kong. Imports of Chinese meat products and chicken are banned.

Turning credit green

China’s State Environment Protection Agency has issued new laws to bar excessive energy-consuming and highly polluting enterprises from seeking credit from banks.

The agency began its crackdown by sending China’s central bank a blacklist of 30 companies, including paper makers, copper and steel producers, pharmaceutical companies, food processors and a brewery.

Emerging mixed fortunes

In India, Wal-Mart has finally signed a joint venture with Bharti Enterprise to build nationwide wholesale outlets under the brand “Bharti Wal-Mart”. The deal gives the US firm a much-coveted foothold in India’s $300 billion retail market, which is growing at 20% a year. The deal prompted a wave of protests from small shop owners and street vendors, who fear they could lose their livelihoods because of competition from Wal-Mart.