From: Reuters
Published December 12, 2007 02:32 AM

Buy China-made toys this Christmas, official says

XIANGHE, China (Reuters) - Parents around the world should choose China-made toys as gifts this Christmas as they are both "cheap and nice," a top Chinese official said on Wednesday, seeking to win back confidence after a series of safety scares.

Li Changjiang, head of the national quality watchdog, said he was convinced of the safety of the made-in-China label, but would spare no effort to go after the 1 percent of products which do not meet standards.

"Cheap and nice toys made in China are popular around the world and I suggest all parents choose Chinese toys as Christmas gifts to their children," Li told a news conference on the sidelines of a Sino-U.S. economic summit near Beijing.

"I'm confident in the quality of Chinese products," he added.

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The third round of twice-a-year talks, which were preceded by trade discussions in Beijing, began on a prickly note after the United States said the safety of food and other imports from China were at the top of the agenda.

Tensions have run high in recent months as a spate of recalls has taken Chinese-made toys and other products off U.S. shop shelves. Toy maker Mattel has recalled over 21 million items.

China has said it will crack down, but also accused the media of hyping the issue with hysterical reporting and warned the U.S. not to politicize the problem or use it as an excuse to raise trade barriers.

Li repeated what has become almost a Chinese mantra that 99 percent of the country's goods for export were safe, but that they would still go after the remaining 1 percent.

"We will make 100 percent effort to improve the quality of that one percent of substandard products," he said.

European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mendelssohn said in China last month that even 1 percent was unacceptable considering the huge volume of bilateral trade.

Li said every country faced the "1 percent" barrier, and developed countries should transfer more technology and give more help to developing nations to raise product safety.

(Reporting by Edie Chen; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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