China gives toy industry crash course in quality

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BEIJING, Oct 13 (Reuters) Facing pressure to clean up its toy industry, China has rounded up more than 1,000 toy company managers and government officials for a crash course in quality supervision, the official Xinhua news agency said today.

The quality of Chinese goods has come under intense international scrutiny following scandals involving everything from toothpaste and pet food to toys and tyres.

Problems with toy exports -- notably excessive levels of lead in paint -- have commanded particular attention, not least because they prompted the world's biggest toy maker, Mattel Inc , to recall about 21 million of its Chinese-made toys in the span of five weeks.

A senior Mattel executive later apologised to China for the trouble the recall had caused.

The seminars, held on Thursday and yesterday in the manufacturing hubs of Dongguan and Shenzhen in southern Guangdong province, gave participants a chance to brush up on China's toy licensing system as well as European and US quality and safety standards, Xinhua said.

Officials from the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine demanded that companies ensure they produce to the standards of the countries they export to, Xinhua said.

They urged firms to make clear in contracts their obligations with respect to quality so as to guard against potential losses, as well as to try to develop their own brand names and produce higher-end products, it said.

The suggestions largely reflected those published yesterday by the International Business Daily, which is run by the Commerce Ministry.

REUTERS GL BST1840

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