Tuesday, August 14, 2007

China Conspiracy Game

Somebody should make a game featuring the China Con. Recalls of pre-school toys in U.S. due to illegal content of lead recently put the toy manufacturers on the spot. But the breakdown had to be in China since China sought and got most favored nation status a few years ago. That status entails complying with all sorts of international standards and regulations. So why didn't China factories comply?

It's possible the standards aren't binding, either, on everybody else except the United States of America...

Toy Recall Raises Red Flag on Chinese-Made Toys
Aug. 6, 2007

On the heels of scares over pet food, toothpaste and tires, another Chinese import has caused serious concern.

Toy-making giant Mattel recalled about a million of its most popular toys because they were painted with paint containing lead.


Mattel to recall more Chinese-made toys
By The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
...In documents filed Aug. 3 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mattel noted that additional information became available in July on "other smaller product recalls and similar charges were recorded." Those recalls involved design problems, according to company officials questioned last week.

Days after the Fisher-Price recall, Chinese officials temporarily banned the toys' manufacturer, Lee Der Industrial Co., from exporting products. A Lee Der co-owner, Cheung Shu-hung, committed suicide at a warehouse over the weekend, apparently by hanging himself, a state-run newspaper reported Monday.

Lee Der was under pressure in the global controversy over the safety of Chinese-made products, and it is common for disgraced officials to commit suicide in China.

In June, toy maker RC2 Corp. voluntarily recalled 1.5 million wooden railroad toys and set parts from its Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line. The company said that the surface paint on certain toys and parts made in China between January 2005 and April 2006 contain lead, affecting 26 components and 23 retailers.

In July, Hasbro Inc. recalled Chinese-made Easy Bake ovens, marking the second time the iconic toy had been recalled this year.

Before this month, Fisher-Price and parent company Mattel had never before recalled toys because of lead paint.


More Info

most-favored-nation clause

China: most-favored-nation status - President Bill Clinton statement, Executive Order

Executive Order--conditions for Renewal of Most-Favored-Nation Status for the People's Republic of China in 1994

Released by the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Washington, DC, May 28, 1993.


Toy Recall Shows
Challenge China
Poses to Partners
By JANE SPENCER in Hong Kong and NICHOLAS CASEY in Los Angeles
August 3, 2007; Page A1

Mattel Inc.'s recall of nearly one million lead-tainted toys shows the challenge Chinese companies increasingly pose for U.S. partners: how to benefit from low-priced goods without getting torpedoed by safety and regulatory risks.

The Mattel recall, comprising 83 types of toys from its Fisher-Price unit, involves excessive levels of lead paint in toys -- a common problem in China despite lead-paint regulations both there and in the U.S.

China makes nearly 80% of the toys that come into the U.S. and is a leading exporter of products from electronics to apparel to auto parts. Recent weeks have brought a spate of quality-control concerns about Chinese exports, from pet food to toothpaste to tires, which besides spooking consumers has heightened existing trade tensions with Washington. The events also are triggering questions about the role Western companies should play in monitoring the complex supply chain that links them to low-cost production facilities in China...


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