Affirming “continued cooperation” as the key ingredient for their collaborative success, Canadian, United States, and Mexican consumer product safety regulators released a joint statement summarizing the results of their 2015 North America Consumer Product Safety Summit, held over November 18 and 19 in Mexico City.
The overarching objectives of the Summit were to take stock of the regulators’ combined progress under the North America Cooperative Engagement Framework from 2013 to 2017; develop a path forward for additional collaboration; and encourage stakeholders in the region to work together toward a stronger culture of consumer product safety. In light of these broad aims, the regulators addressed specific consumer product safety issues, which included customs cooperation, legal frameworks for recalls, international collaboration by nongovernment stakeholders, industry-adopted best practices, the role of voluntary product safety standards, and effective approaches to managing risk.
The regulators (Health Canada, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Mexico’s Consumer Protection Federal Agency, known as PROFECO) also reviewed their past collective achievements since the last Summit in 2013—in particular, the establishment of Joint Project Teams, the implementation of trilateral recalls, enhancements to a collaborative early consultation initiative, and an increase in information sharing activities, particularly in the area of import surveillance.
Looking forward, the three government product safety organizations identified the following areas for improved collaboration before the next Summit in 2018:
- “Developing further the three regulators’ joint capacity to engage in cross-border product safety and customs cooperation in order to prevent trade in hazardous products within North America.”
- “Improving industry’s practices regarding prompt notification of each relevant North American regulator, not just one of them, in cases when a company reports a hazard associated with a product distributed in two or more North American countries.”
- “Instituting procedures for sharing information about e-commerce vendors and suppliers whose products may pose a common threat to the safety of North American consumers.”
- “Developing a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding as a platform for sustained and increased cooperation on consumer product safety in North America.”