Chinese toys anyone? Not for Obama...
If there is one product that has received way too much attention in 2007, it must be those millions of toys 'made in China,' a tainted few of which caused such an uproar this year. Those 'few,' whether blamed on the faults of foreign importers or on Chinese manufacturers, had a significant impact on global perceptions of the quality of Chinese products. Yet in the aftermath of the Mattel saga Chinese toys, food products and others have all been subjected to stricter quality controls, and have moreover been caught up in 2007 in the general drive for improved quality occurring in China (see CSB's 2007 China Sourcing Review).
As reported in a previous posting, China's toy-making heartland in Guangdong province stated already by late November that global demand for its toys had rebounded from the recall dramas of earlier. In the end nothing much has changed, because with Chinese toys still cheap and their quality improving, demand for them will not abate.
But not so for Barack Obama.
A Reuters report yesterday quoted the presidential hopeful as saying he would ban all China-made toy imports following the safety scandals of this year, though admitting that such a move would cut off about 80 percent of toys in the United States. Calling for tougher inspections, Obama cited the example of Japanese food safety inspectors who go to China and meticulously test all food products sent from there.
Obama would probably be heartened by reports from China yesterday claiming the four-month national food safety campaign managed to hit its targets early, with a state newspaper reporting that officials seized 'thousands of tainted products and (put) many unregulated shops and eateries out of business... Inspectors shut 192,400 unlicensed food producers and pulled 29,800 products from the shelves.' 100% of stores in larger towns and cities, it was proclaimed, now had a quality label system in place and could trace back where their supplies came from.
And on the day after Thanksgiving, Xinhua reported yesterday, U.S. customers 'rushed in their hordes' to stores such as Toys 'R' Us to purchase Christmas gifts for their children. The article mentions Samantha Gusteins, a mother of one, who was carrying two big bags of toys and about to leave a store, saying "The toys are many and affordable."
No doubt she and many other shoppers would have Obama think twice about going to such extremes...
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