The State Department has approved FDA's plan to establish eight full-time permanent staff positions at U.S. diplomatic posts in China. The move must be authorized by the Chinese government. The regulatory outposts are an outgrowth of a number of high-profile recalls in the past year involving products made in or sourced from China, including toothpaste, pet food, and most recently, the blood thinner heparin (see pages 13 and 46). FDA says it plans to hire and place staff in China over the next 18 months. In addition, the agency intends to hire five local Chinese nationals to work with the new FDA staff at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulates General in Shanghai and Guangzhou. "In an age when a border is not a barrier, the globalized economy demands nothing less than heightened regulatory interoperability, information exchange, and cooperation, especially on product quality and enforcement matters," says Murray M. Lumpkin, FDA's deputy commissioner for international and special programs. The agency says permanent offices in China will also allow greater access for inspections and interaction with local manufacturers to help ensure that products shipped to the U.S. meet U.S. standards for safety and quality.