|EU Regulation Enhances Toy Safety|
An updated European Union safety regulation on toys will place pressure on Chinese toy makers and affect the nation's exports to an already weakening European market, but could also provide an opportunity to upgrade the domestic toy industry. The new toy safety directive, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in 2009, took full effect on Saturday.
China is the world's biggest toy producer and exporter, taking a two-third share of the international market. China exported toys worth $11.45 billion in 2012, including $2.6 billion to the EU, making the EU China's second-largest market for toys, according to the General Administration of Customs. The new directive includes a number of new articles on toys' mechanical and electrical performance and chemical and hygiene requirements. In particular, it sets stricter standards on the content of some chemical elements and bans many other chemicals, such as N-nitrosamine.
Up to 80 percent of products from about 20 toy companies in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, were unable to meet the new technical requirements. To help enterprises better cope with the new directive, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has offered 68 training sessions to more than 2,400 toy makers across China. The administration also organized institutes to intensify research on chemical testing and formulate methods to quickly test for major heavy metals in toys. Using more environmentally friendly materials means the cost for toy manufacturers will increase by a large margin. To cope with the possible surge in cost, toy manufacturers should also find alternate materials or upgrade their designs for toys.
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Published on our website on July 23, 2013