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Furniture exports face new norms

Update: March, 15/2012 - 10:11

HCM CITY — Furniture producers should be fully aware of US safety regulations and standards when exporting to that country, a HCM City wood products industry official has said.

Tran Quoc Manh, deputy chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hawa), told a conference in HCM City on Monday that the US was the largest market for Vietnamese furniture for many years now with export value reaching US$1.42 billion last year – and would remain a key market.

But it had increasingly strict safety regulations and standards to prevent risk of injuries associated with consumer products.

For instance, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS) used to allow baby cribs to have a drop-side to put children in and get them out, but no longer.

Producers therefore had to thoroughly understand such regulations and standards and keep a close eye on changes to avoid risks when exporting their products.

John W Boja, a lead compliance officer in the CPSC's Office of Compliance and Field Operation, said the Consumer Product Safety Act and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act set new permissible levels for many items, including lead content in accessible components, paint, and surface coating in furniture.

Arlene I Flecha, CPSC's programme manager for Southeast Asia, said: "Failure to meet either a CPSC regulation or an industry consensus standard can result in a recall."

The consequences of a recall could lead to damage to a brand, a country's reputation and future business, and tougher regulations, she pointed out.

Producers must follow safety regulations to avoid these problems, she said.

Producers must carefully control their supply chain, including design and materials, to ensure that their products meet US safety requirements, she said. — VNS

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