As the world's largest maker and exporter of toys, China yesterday reiterated that it would do whatever it could to guarantee the safety of its products.
Each new type of toy is to be subject to compulsory testing before production starts. Random factory inspections and sample testing will also help ensure quality control, Wang Xin, director of the inspection and supervision department of the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), said.
"Toys are always a top concern of ours as they'll be in the hands of children," he told visiting European Union Consumer Protection Commissioner Meglena Kuneva during a trip to a toy factory and testing center in Yangzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province.
He said China had consistently worked to make sure that "every piece exported meets the standards of the importing countries".
But the director also acknowledged that problems existed because of the huge volume of goods involved and asked for more information about seizures of unsafe products from the EU to Chinese authorities.
Figures from the China Toy Association show that toy exports exceeded $17.8 billion last year. The United States and the EU were the two biggest markets. Exports to the EU reached $4.6 billion, and more than a half of all the toys sold in Europe came from China.
An EU report showed that last year, toys for the first time overtook electrical appliances in terms of RAPEX notifications. RAPEX is Europe's alert system for dangerous consumer products.
Toys received 221 notifications last year, accounting for 24 percent of the total notifications issued. Choking caused by small parts, injuries from sharp edges and chemical risks were the top three threats.
The report did not say how many of the dangerous toys were from China, but it did say that about half of all the unsafe products had originated here.
"Therefore, China is a very big concern for our product safety," Kuneva said while giving a briefing to reporters after the tour.
The commissioner said she hoped to intensify cooperation with China on product safety.
(China Daily July 26, 2007)