Investigation aims to ensure toy safety

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-08-17 06:57

The government will investigate and take tough measures against makers involved in the recent recalls of potentially unsafe toys in the United States and other countries, the Commerce Ministry said Thursday.

Toy producers' self-regulatory mechanisms will also be improved to ensure quality, spokesman Wang Xinpei said.

"We really care about toy safety, not only in exports but also in our country," Wang told a press conference in Beijing. "China is a responsible country. We'll investigate the cases and deal with offenders according to the law."

On Tuesday, Mattel Inc - the world's largest toy company - issued a global recall of 19 million made-in-China toys either with lead-tainted paint or containing small magnets that could be swallowed by children.

The action came nearly two weeks after Mattel ordered a recall of 1.5 million Chinese toys because their paint contained too much lead.

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In June, about 1.5 million wooden railway toys, exported from China and distributed by RC2 Corp, were also recalled because of lead paint.

Two Chinese toymakers involved in the earlier two recalls have been banned from exporting, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said last week.

However, Wang reiterated that toys from China, the exporter of 70 percent of the world's toys, were safe.

"We'll train the manufacturers to raise their self-discipline. We'll tighten supervision," he said.

Experts said US manufacturers and importers should also be blamed for putting "relentless" pressure on Chinese suppliers.

"Everybody is pushing, pushing, pushing for lower and lower prices. The vendors are squeezed to the point where they aren't making a profit anymore. So they are looking to cut corners," Peter Dean, a former US toy company executive, was quoted as saying by US-based McClatchy Newspapers yesterday.

The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Light Industrial Products and Arts and Crafts, a group which represents toymakers, also appealed to manufacturers yesterday not to take orders that are "too big, too urgent or too cheap".

Wang called for more international cooperation and less finger pointing.

According to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Beijing will send senior-level delegations to the US later this month and next month to discuss food and product safety.

The AQSIQ yesterday confirmed to China Daily that the two countries will hold their third food safety conference and their second consumer product safety meetings in the US soon.

China and the US will also start a vice-ministerial level meeting on food and feed safety next Tuesday in Beijing, according to the AQSIQ.

China Daily-Agencies

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