EU to set new safety standards for sleeping products for newborns and young children

New safety standards for children’s sleeping items – including duvets, baby sleeping bags and cot mattresses – which should help to prevent many cot –related accidents, were given a green light today by EU Member States. The vote took place in the General Product Safety Committee in Brussels. Cot-related accidents are responsible for more childhood deaths every year than any other child-care products.

According to the European Injury Database, between 2005-2007, 17 000 accidents involving children from 0 to 4 years in the EU happened in the cot. Despite the frequency of serious and sometimes fatal accidents caused by cot mattresses, cot bumpers, suspended baby beds, children’s duvets and baby sleeping bags, currently there are no EU safety standards for these products. The proposed new standards will reduce the risk of accidents from, for example, choking on loose parts, entrapment of an infant due to bad mattress design or asphyxiation accidents from cords or loops. Other necessary standards, such as stability and design requirements to reduce the risk of falls and injuries from suspended beds for babies, will also be introduced. The proposed safety requirements are now subject to a three month scrutiny period in the European Parliament and the Council, and they will then go to the College of Commissioners for a formal decision before being sent to the European Standardisation bodies.

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EU-China Trade: Facts and Figures

China is the single most important challenge for EU trade policy. EU-China trade has increased dramatically in recent years. China is now the EU’s 2nd trading partner behind the USA and the biggest source of imports. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner. China is set to be the biggest national exporter in the global economy in 2009. China now accounts for about 9% of world trade in goods. Total bilateral trade between the EU and China was worth €326 billion in 2008.

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EU crackdown on websites selling consumer electronic goods

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva today announced the results of an EU-wide investigation – involving 26 Member States and Norway and Iceland – into misleading advertising and unfair practices on websites selling consumer electronic goods. The clampdown covered 369 websites selling six of the most popular electronic goods to consumers in the EU – digital cameras, mobile phones, personal music players, DVD players, computer equipment and game consoles. It covered 200 of the biggest websites selling electronic equipment in the EU as well as more than 100 websites which were targeted on the basis of consumer complaints. The results of the checks carried out in May this year show that 55% of the websites investigated showed irregularities in particular relating to: misleading information about consumer rights; misleading information about the total cost of the product; or incomplete contact details for the trader. The initial checks by national authorities will now be followed by an enforcement phase when companies are contacted by national authorities and required to correct their websites or clarify their position. At this first stage, three countries – Iceland, Latvia and Norway – have published names of the websites covered by the investigation.Read More

EU and China to hold high-level economic and trade talks

The European Commission and the Chinese government continue their close working relationship with high-level economic and trade talks in Brussels. EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan will chair the second meeting of the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED). A further eight EU Commissioners and a total of 12 Chinese ministers or vice-ministers are set to participate in far-reaching talks aimed at strengthening the trade and investment relationship in order to speed recovery in the current economic crisis.

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