EU toy industry chief: Chinese toys quality reputable

Updated: 2007-11-29 20:17

BRUSSELS -- It is safe for European parents to buy Chinese-made toys for Christmas despite a spate of recall dramas involving Chinese products earlier this year, head of the European Union (EU) toy industry said.

Xinhua correspondents interviewed Bryan Ellis, chairman of Toy Industries Europe, at a time when there are widespread fears of low consumer confidence in Chinese-made toys in the run-up to the Christmas selling season after more than 20 million Chinese-made toys were recalled in the last four months for their allegedly excessive lead paint and unsafe magnets.

"My view is that if you buy good brands and from reputable retailers, it is safe to buy Chinese products as it is to buy any other products," said Ellis, whose institution includes global leading toy makers Mattel, Hasbro and Hornby.

Ellis said after the massive recalls, the EU toy industry still holds confidence in Chinese manufacturers due to their long-time cooperation and the Chinese manufacturers' expertise.

"Most people in the toy industry have a good confidence in Chinese manufacturers. We build expertise in this area for more than twenty years," he said, adding that as far as he knew, no EU companies have ever cancelled orders due to the recalls.

China is now the world's largest toy producer, but most of its products are outsourced by foreign brand owners. It exported 22 billion toys last year, about 60 percent of the world's total and roughly 75 percent of the toys sold in Europe are made in China, Ellis said.

As a frequent visitor to Hong Kong in the past 20 years working for various toy retailers, Ellis said he has been doing business with Chinese manufacturers for a long time, which gives him enormous confidence in their expertise.

"In fact, probably because of the expertise Chinese manufacturers get, it is safer to buy Chinese products than any other products," he added.

The EU toy industry chief also appeared largely optimistic about the sales ahead.

"The evidence of sales around Europe still shows a strong trend," he said, adding that "I won't be surprised if sales in Europe goes up by five percent this year," a reasonable increase compared to the past years.

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