Friday, September 19, 2008

China conducts first suitcase and bag exporter quality training meeting

China's suitcase and bag export industry watchdog Friday kicked off the country's first-ever quality and safety training session in eastern Pinghu city, to boost quality awareness among the industry's manufacturers.

Nearly 100 large domestic suitcase and bag manufacturers and exporters took part in training for the newly-compiled "Guide to Quality and Safety Control for Export-oriented Bags and Suitcases".

The guide was jointly compiled by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, China Chamber of Commerce for Imports and Exports and an expert panel, said Huang Daqi, China Chamber of Commerce for Imports and Exports of Suitcases and Bags secretary general.

The guide detailed the differences between the domestic and foreign markets' quality and safety standards, the main technical regulations of targeted markets and how to deal with technical export barriers and so on.

Huang added that although there were not serious export suitcase and bag quality problems up to date, the country's first quality pre-emptive "dictionary" and training were also crucial, as "fire prevention" was even more important than "fire fighting".

As the world's largest suitcase and bag manufacturer, China exported 6.286 billion U.S. dollars of product globally in the first half of this year, up 26.45 percent year on year.

Figures revealed that the country's exported suitcases and bags accounted for more than one third of the global market. The United States and the European Union were the major customers.

Liang Ming, a member of the expert panel, urged domestic companies to regularly check technical, health and environmental protection standards in the main targeted markets, and enhance th equality and brand awareness, as "brand strategy is an important channel for industrial upgrading".

Shi Lili, a Ministry of Commerce research fellow, said pressure on exporters from the appreciation of the yuan, labor and material price increases and the slowing pace of U.S. and European markets were signs that domestic companies should embark on a "quality and brand-oriented" development road, as only those companies that did so would survive further squeezes on their profits.

Located in eastern Zhejiang Province, Pinghu city sees this sector turning out more than 5 billion yuan sales volume last year, according to Shi Jihong, local industry chamber president.

But most of these companies were doing the labor-intensive Original Equipment Manufacturing business, while their own brands were mostly low-end ones, Shi added.


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