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Mattel apologizes to China, pledging to take responsibility for defective toys(09/21/07)


    BEIJING, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Thomas Debrowski, executive vice-president of Mattel's global operations apologized personally on Sep.21 to a senior Chinese official for the massive recall of Made-in-China toys due to design flaws committed by itself.

    "Mattel takes full responsibility for those recalls and I would like to apologize personally to you, the Chinese people and all of the customers who received toys that have been manufactured," Debrowski told Li Changjiang, head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, in their meeting here.

    Debrowski admitted that the vast majority of its recalled toys were of design flaws rather than the manufacturing errors of China.

    Mattel staged three separate recalls this summer including Barbie doll accessories and Fisher-Price units because of concerns about lead paint and magnets that could be swallowed.

    According to a press release of the Mattel, 17.4 million toys have been recalled because of loose magnets and those recalled because of impermissible levels of lead numbered 2.2 millions.

    The magnets related recalls were due to emerging issues concerning design and this has nothing to do with whether the toys were manufactured in China, said the press release.

    "Mattel does not require Chinese manufacturers to be responsible for the magnets related recalls due to design problems," it said.

    It also admitted that Mattel's lead-related recalls were "overly inclusive" as the company were "committed to applying the highest standards of safety for its products".

    "The follow-up inspections also confirmed that part of the recalled toys complied with the U.S. standards."

    The same high standards to recalls of its products have been applied in the EU and other countries despite the fact that some of these products may have met local safety standards. its said.

    Calling his conversation with Thomas Debrowski "frank", Li Changjiang said in a subsequent news briefing that he appreciated Debrowski's "impartial analysis" and his "responsible and honest explanations".

    He said the conclusion of Mattel was basically consistent with the results of investigations carried out by the Chinese side, which showed that 87 percent of the 21 million recalled toys had design flaws while the remaining 13 percent contained excessive lead.

    "Expanding the recall without disclosing the exact proportion of the recalled toys among all its imports isn't proper. We hope the U.S. company could handle similar issues in an improved way in future," he said.

    China is the world's largest toy manufacturer, exporting 22 billion toys last year, about 60 percent of the world's total.

Editor: Song Shutao

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