Trump administration recently exasperated China by taxing steel imports and other items from countries including China. The cheap workforce available in China has affected every country. Industries even in America have closed over the time because the production has moved to China. Even in developed countries, it is tough to find various daily use items that are not made in China. Everything from mobile phones to bed sheets to even crockery is produced in China and exported all over the world. However, the Chinese products don’t last long. So whereas the appliances that my father and mother had bought in the late 80s and early 90s are still working fine, the ones I purchased only a year or two ago are already malfunctioning, and I am planning to replace them already. Countries importing all sort of items from China are losing considerably. On the one hand, the local industries are getting closed, on the other, no quality is left in the products that the customers buy at high prices. Pakistan struck a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China assuming that the whole Chinese market shall be available to Pakistan, instead, we have lost so many industries because of the influx of Chinese goods. It seems that the FTA has only made it more expensive for us to live our lives. It is evident that our future generations shall not be able to see the quality products that used to be produced in Holland, Italy, France or America — that no doubt were profoundly superior in quality and fineness than the Chinese goods.Countries like Pakistan where Chinese products are entering without much scrutiny are the worst sufferers. Everything, for example, from toys to cosmetic products and even the food items are getting used and consumed without much consideration to their effects on the health of the users. In 2007, over 7.3 million Polly Pocket dolls and other accessories were removed from the shelves of the superstores of America. The toys had small magnets that were dislodging and getting swallowed by the children. Chinese toys didn’t improve even after such a massive recall, and in 2008, thousands of more toys were recalled from the supermarkets. Chinese made toys that are widely vailable in Pakistan are notorious world over for dangerous lead paint that violates international lead paint standards. Much like other countries, Pakistan too is facing the dangers of poisonous toothpaste, contaminated seafood, substandard tires, lead-painted baby products, possibly expired food and relabelled skin damaging cosmetic products etc. However, unlike other countries, Pakistan has not witnessed any product recalls or stringent checking of Chinese products available in superstores.China is a great friend; however, a friend cannot be more important than a family member. Our interest should be safeguarded first, and then the friendship should be nurtured. Pakistan needs to look hard at the FTA from the point of view of quality and product safety, make necessary amendments and bring stringent rules for complying with the standard requirements of the Chinese products landing on Pakistani ports. The Pakistani government must also ensure that for every rupee Chinese investors earn from Pakistan, a Pakistani investor too can earn the same from China. For every Chinese product landing on the Pakistani seaport, there should be a third party testing conducted in Pakistani laboratories such as PCSIR at the cost of the seller. Moreover, for appliances and non-eatable products, there should be a customer care centre in all major cities of Pakistan. Chinese products should never be able to reach the common pushcart vendors; that medium of sale should be only for Pakistani products manufactured in Pakistan to benefit small industries. Particular attention should be paid to the cosmetics, food and baby products.Pakistan needs to look hard at the FTA with China from the point of view of quality and product safety, make necessary amendments and bring stringent rules for complying with the standard requirements of the Chinese products landing on Pakistani portsIn the end, I would like to bring to the attention of the readers the product recall of Aqua Dots or Bindeez in 2007 in the US and Europe, when it was discovered that these were manufactured with glue that changed its chemical form into ‘Date Rape’ drug upon ingestion. The Bindeez would cause unconsciousness and even death. The product was designed by a Hong Kong company. However, it was manufactured in China. The manufacturers altered the ingredients in the glue to create an alternative that cost less than one-third the original ignoring the original design of the product. With such dangerous oversights in production in China, consumers in countries like Pakistan are very much at risk because the consumer product safety standards are not followed in true letter and spirit. May I request all the stakeholders including the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of low standards of Chinese products affecting the pockets and health of common Pakistanis?The writer is an Assistant Professor. He tweets @Prof_MKShaikhPublished in Daily Times, April 8th 2018.