FDI maintains steady growth this year

By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-14 08:48

Actual foreign direct investment (FDI) in China maintained steady growth in the first eight months and government agencies are investigating the latest batch of "Made in China" toy recalls, a senior commerce official said on Thursday.

The Ministry of Commerce approved 24,848 foreign-invested enterprises in the past eight months, with actual spending rising 12.79 percent year-on-year to $41.95 billion, ministry spokesman Wang Xinpei told a news conference.

For August alone, realized FDI in China jumped to $5.02 billion, up 11.87 percent from a year earlier. The ministry did not release the statistics for contracted foreign investments.

Wang said the Ministry of Commerce had dispatched teams to Dongguan and Shenzhen in Guangdong Province after it learned about the latest toy recall case in the US.

Toy giant Mattel recalled around 848,000 toys earlier this month - its third recall of Chinese products this summer - because of the high lead content in the paints used.

The latest recall follows a similar move last month, when the company recalled 18 million Chinese-made products worldwide over high lead levels and small magnets that have allegedly injured at least three children.

"Our initial investigation shows all the recalled toys are products under original equipment manufacturing and were exported in processing trade. Three companies in Guangdong were involved in Mattel's third recall," Wang said.

He said the products in question were made according to US specifications, adding that the government will conduct further investigations and punish whoever is accountable.

"These are stray cases, considering the fact that there are 8,000 toymakers in China and the quality of China-made toys in general is reliable," Wang said. "As toys concern children's health, we are treating each case seriously, regardless of whether the case is one out of a hundred or one out of a thousand."

The government also urged toymakers to improve their quality control system to meet both Chinese quality standards and those set by importing countries.

Large-scale training courses on quality enhancement are being held in Jiangsu and other provinces famous for toy exports.

Canadian business professor Hari Bapuji recently said most recalls of toys made in China are due to design errors, not manufacturing flaws.

"We should be asking the toymakers: 'Are you guys learning from the errors you are making? What are your systems to test? What are your systems to make sure that an error doesn't get repeated in the future?'" he said in an interview on Canadian Television recently.

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