Chinese toys export rebounds despite recalls

Updated: 2007-11-28 18:21

Customs authorities in Guangdong Province, a major base for the toy-making industry in southern China, said demand for exported toys has rebounded despite a spate of recall dramas earlier this year.

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Latest statistics obtained from the Huangpu Customs show the value of toys exported by Guangdong slipped by 5.4 percent in September compared to the same period last year, but it regained strength to register a year-on-year increase of 27.6 percent in October.

Customs analysts said the rebound was spurred by rising demands in the Christmas retail season, and it also shows that toy recalls, staged by the US toy maker, Mattel Inc, since summer over lead-contaminated surface paint, proved to have had limited impact on the province's toy exports.

Mattel apologized to China in September that 87 percent of the recalled toys were found to have loose magnets -- a design defect from Mattel itself -- and 13 percent of which contained excessive lead.

In the first ten months, Guangdong exported toys with a total value of US$4.94 billion, up 22.9 percent over the same period last year. About US$3.92 billion, or 79 percent of the total were exported to the United States and the European Union.

Exports to the US alone were US$2.31 billion, up 15.4 percent over the same period last year, while a 53.6 percent hike was seen in exports to Latin American countries.

Guangdong alone manufactures about 70 percent of the total Chinese toys made for export and about half of the world's toys. In order to address the customer uproars over toy safety, the province launched a month-long safety inspection in September over its toy manufacturers.

The provincial Quarantine and Inspection Bureau announced at the end of October it did discover problems like substandard paint and loose parts in toys. The bureau withdrew production licenses from 423 toy makers, suspended licenses of 341 toy companies, and ordered 690 others to improve their working practices.

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