After Yemen Times reports problem with Chinese-made toysChina asks for Yemen’s cooperation to fix the situation [Archives:2008/1171/Front Page]

July 10 2008

By: Amel Al-Ariqi
SANA'A, July 8 ) Chinese government is concerned over the media's attention to the health problems that may have been caused by imported Chinese made toys that are sold in the Yemeni market.

Last Thursday, the Chinese embassy sent official letters to the Yemeni Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Yemeni Standardization & Quality Control Organization and the Yemeni Federation of Chambers of Commerce explaining its concerns about media reports of the unsafe toys. None of the Yemeni oversight bodies have contacted the Chinese embassy in Sana'a about the letter as of yet, according to embassy sources.

The letter said that the “Chinese government is paying great attention and endeavoring to resolve the quality and safety problems of exporting toys,” by enhancing cooperation with the Yemeni government “to further improve the quality and safety level of the Chinese-made toys and better protect the consumer's rights” by jointly fighting against these manufacturers and importers.

The letter followed a front-page report in the Yemen Times newspaper, issue number 1142, which focused on the medically dangerous impact of the Chinese-made toys. The toys often enter Yemen illegally through smuggling rings, but other times are permitted to enter Yemen legally due to the weak monitoring system at the Yemeni borders.

The report highlighted a list of banned Chinese toys that had been issued by the Yemen Standardization and Quality Control Organization, which stated that such toys contained lead, mercury and some small metal particles that could cause cancer and other problems.

“Since the quality and safety of the toys concerns the health of consumers, especially child consumers, the Chinese government has always paid great attention to it,” said the letter, which was written by the Chinese embassy in Yemen's Economic and Commercial Counselor's office.

The letter said that the Chinese government never evaded its responsibilities during the Chinese-made toy recalls of 2007 though it claims the majority of the problems were caused by toy designs from foreign companies. “The relative Chinese administrative departments immediately punished the companies and at the same time took a series of measures to strengthen the supervision of the toys' quality and carried out large-scale training courses in the toy production factories,” said the letter, which added that the overall quality and safety level of Chinese-made toys increased greatly after these measures were taken.

China is the largest toy producer and exporter in the world. In 2007, China exported toys to more than 160 countries, worth a total value of over US $8 billion. In the first financial quarter of 2008, the Chinese-made toy export business was valued at US $1.5 billion.