The other shoes are dropping in China…boom, boom, boom…the government of China in the form of the State Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine (whew!) or AQSIQ has yanked the licenses of 600+ Chinese toy makers.  AQSIQ officials say they inspected 3,000+ toy makers (exporters) since August when the headlines broke in the USA and elsewhere over lead in toys and other defects.



The pressure on both China’s supply chain and their customers (end marketers such as Mattel) in the United States market.  Give China a good check-mark for its swift action.  The final results will be seen on the shelves of toy stores in the future – will tots’ toys be safer?  Let’s hope so.



The government in China has set new standards (based on designs and other factors) and will conduct safety checks going forward.  Good.  The promise:  “The overall quality of Chinese-made toys will be further improved and safety will be fully guaranteed.”  This will be a big promise to keep; China is the world’s largest toy maker and 20+ billion (“b”) toys were shipped in 2006.



And then there’s the food safety issue – remember the pet food contamination?  Some toxic compounds making their way into food destined for consumer tables?  The Chinese say the “QS” label will be applied to products coming from the almost 100,000 food makers and processors and bound for export markets.



On the horizon this year:  The world’s attention focused on China and the 2008 Summer Olympics.  No room for mis-steps here – many journalists and advocates are watching closely, including their focus on China’s human rights behavior.  So – the QS label will be on food that athletes and others involved in the Olympics consume.  (Visitors will also be looking for the label once word gets around.)



Give the government of China credit for recognizing the importance of being accountable and responsible to important constituencies in the ever-shrinking global village.  And credit for addressing issues more quickly now, as destination markets for their exports raise these issues.  Remember the slowness of the Chinese state’s reporting of flu cases?   The response on toys and food is a welcome sign of change.



Hank Boerner


Editor & Publisher


Accountability Central