Friday, January 25, 2008

No Future Change to Made in China

Over 75% of the toys sold in the United States are made in China. As of January 25,2008, there have been seven recalls of over 200,000 toys. All of the toys have been made in China or Taiwan. Will there be a change in where the toys are made?

In a recent article in the International Herald Tribune by Donald Greenlees titled Toy Industry Tries to Regain Parents' Trust, the author summarizes the articles stating that it

"is unlikely to see any fundamental change in where toys are made.Despite the product scares of 2007 and the prospect of higher costs, toy companies say there is no realistic alternative to China.Philip Shoptaugh, who owns the Oakland, California-based Shoptaugh Games, an educational toy maker, said China's toy industry infrastructure and labor rates still give it a big edge over alternatives "I think there are probably a lot of shoppers who made an effort over Christmas to read the box and say 'it's made in China, I won't buy made in China this year,"' he said."But having said that, are you going to pay twice as much for a doll because it's not made in China? The thing is you cannot make these products in the United States and have them be competitive on the shelf."

After hearing of all the toy recalls last year and the problem products (like antifreeze in toothpaste) from China, I decided to ban all toys from China in our house. I looked at all the toys in our house and found ONE made in Germany - all the rest - China. So I started looking for alternatives - and for some toys there are definitely alternatives. But while we may be willing to pay more for toys not made in China - in some toy categories there just aren't good alternatives.

In starting, I read a very interesting book called A Year Without "Made in China": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy by Sara Bongiorni (which you can purchase for $16 through the Amazon link on our website.) A story about a family's struggle in going an entire year without buying products made in China. It was amazing to me to realize what all comes from China.

While it doesn't look like there will be a change in where the majority of toys are made, in the end, I decided I couldn't completely ban China. I definitely look at labels (especially toothpaste) and when I can buy out of China, I definitely do. As a result, I feel like I am at least now making an informed decision when I buy toys.