Alibaba, CPSC To Prevent Sale Of Recalled Goods

Will "Hold Their Feet To The Fire"

AlibabaChinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is partnering with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in an effort to keep its online platforms from exporting unsafe goods to the U.S. The CPSC will provide Alibaba with a list of recalled products, which would, in turn, ensure those items aren’t peddled to American companies and individuals.

According to Elliot F. Kaye, CPSC chairman, the agency will start out by giving Alibaba a list of five to 15 high-priority recalls, then expand it. The CPSC would expect Alibaba to remove the listed items within hours of the notification.

“We’re certainly going to hold their feet to the fire,” Kaye said on Tuesday at the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair. “We’re not a very patient lot, and if it doesn’t happen pretty quickly, then they’ll be hearing from us.”

Kaye pointed to last year’s recall of high-powered magnets being sold as toys in the U.S. The CPSC recalled the magnets in the wake of thousands of reported injuries, particularly from children requiring surgery after swallowing them. Some companies on Alibaba had been selling the magnets wholesale; the new partnership, Kaye said, would help keep such dangerous listings off Alibaba sites.

The CPSC first approached Alibaba about cooperating two years ago. The partnership would likely have the most impact on the Chinese company’s business-to-business site, which sells goods produced by Chinese manufacturers to American importers and businesses. The company said last month that it spent $160 million combating the sale of fake goods on its sites over the last two years. However, critics say the company is slow to pull listings of pirated goods and that they often quickly reappear under different names.

“[We] look forward to working collaboratively with the chairman and his team to do everything possible to protect consumers,” said Jim Wilkinson, Alibaba Group’s senior vice president for corporate affairs, in a statement.