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China to Ensure Toy Quality
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China's Ministry of Commerce will help related departments implement measures to ensure the quality and safety of China-made toys, said a spokesman with the ministry on Thursday.

The measures include enhancing self-discipline and supervision of the toy industry, helping local authorities train manufacturers to improve management over product quality, and strengthening international cooperation and information exchange on toy production, spokesman Wang Xinpei said.

Wang said most toys made in China were produced in accordance with importers' designs, techniques and quality criteria. Some problematic toys uncovered recently stemmed from poor quality management in the production process and slack supervision by importers and traders as well.

A spokesman for China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said late last week that the United States importers and brand owners should take responsibility for recalled toys.

To prevent loopholes in quality control, overseas brand owners should improve their product design and supervision over product quality, the spokesman said.

The U.S. product quality watchdog filed 29 recall cases involving toys made in China last year.

A recall case filed by US RC2 Corp. and CPSC last month involved toy trains made by a Guangdong-based company which used paint containing lead poisonous to children.

On Aug. 2, another toy company, Fisher-Price, also recalled more than one million character toys with unqualified paint. The producer's paint provider made the paint using fake materials.

China's quality control department has suspended the export of the problematic toys, while the police have launched an investigation into the case.

China exported more than US$7 billion worth of toys last year, a growth of 7.5 percent over the previous year. The total included 300,000 batches of toys sold to the United States.

Food safety

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington called for global cooperation to improve food safety, noting that it along with product quality is an international problem.

"No country's products are immune to problems," said Zhao Baoqing.

But Zhao added that China will intensify food safety supervision and punish all those responsible for supplying tainted food.

"Food safety and product quality is an international problem, and is also something that all countries pay attention to," said Zhao, who previously worked for China's product quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

Zhao admitted that China's food safety needs improving, but said that the vast majority of Chinese exports to United States are of high quality.

"During 2004 to 2006, more than 99 percent of Chinese food to the U.S. met the U.S. safety and quality standards," he said.

The official said the Chinese government has been actively cooperating with other countries to seek solutions to issues of food safety and product quality.

"Quality and safety questions are something that every country has to deal with," Zhao reiterated, adding that more international cooperation and less finger-pointing was needed.

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2007)

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