Beijing: A design fault was mostly to blame for US toy giant Mattel’s recall of products, not Chinese manufacturers, China’s chief safety watchdog said on 27August.
85% of the roughly 20 million toys that Mattel recalled were due to design faults, Li Changjiang, director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, told reporters.
Li said only 15% of these “millions” were deemed unsafe due to Chinese manufacturers using dangerous lead in the paint.
“So I would like to pose this question: the Chinese manufacturers have their share of responsibility, but what kind of responsibilities do American importers and product designers have?” he quizzed.
Mattel said when it announced the recalls this month that there were concerns about small magnets in some of the toys and lead in the paint on the others.
The head of a Chinese factory that made many of the toys committed suicide after the government suspended its export license.
The Mattel scandal made global headlines and came to symbolize concerns about the safety of Chinese exports.
Chinese-made toothpaste, car tyres, seafood and blankets have been just some of the goods to have come under scrutiny in recent months.
But Li insisted the bad publicity was having little impact on China’s exporters. Total Chinese exports in the first half of this year rose 27.6% to $546.7 billion, he said.
During that time Chinese exports to US grew 17.8% while goods bound for the European Union went up by 30.2% and products sent to Japan rose by 11.3%.
In 2006, China exported 22 billion toys worldwide. Meanwhile, China has announced a four-month campaign to improve the quality of its consumer products in a bid to restore consumer confidence.