BRUSSELS The European Union and the United
States want new global toy safety rules to stem a surge of
dangerous exports from countries like China, EU officials said.
The EU's consumer and enterprise chiefs will hold talks
with U.S. counterparts in Washington on Friday to agree the
worldwide standards following the recall of millions of
Chinese-made toys in the last six months.
A new global safety mark is one of the ideas under
discussion, according to EU officials and industry sources.
European and U.S. lawmakers have criticized current
regulations, stoking fears of reduced consumer confidence ahead
of the lucrative Christmas retail period.
Mattel Inc -- the world's largest toymaker -- has recalled
over 21 million products in the last four months due to
excessive levels of lead paint and other unsafe components.
Its latest recall came on Tuesday when it withdrew 170,000
"We will be trying to make sure we are both on the same
sheet of paper," an EU official said of Friday's meeting.
"If the EU and the U.S. can agree a regulatory framework,
then this in essence becomes the global standard and forces
other countries like China to follow suit. That's our aim," he
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and
other lawmakers have called for the resignation of the chief
U.S. product safety regulator, while members of the European
Parliament have called for a ban on Chinese-made toys until the
"A new global mark is the only way forward from industry's
point of view and we have had a positive response to this idea
on both sides of the Atlantic," one senior industry source told
"Toy companies are global companies and cannot work with
different rules in different regions. It also means if we do
this, the Chinese will then have to come on board, they will
have no choice but to sign up."
Leading toymakers such as Mattel Inc, Hasbro and Hornby are
also said to favor a new independent global body to police a
new global standard.
"This must be a fully independent and tough regulatory
body," another industry source said.
Sources within the European Commission, which oversees EU
consumer safety rules, said Brussels favors such an approach
and is currently looking at introducing a new standard similar
to Germany's "GS" safety mark.
This new stamp of approval would replace the EU's current
"CE" mark which manufacturers need to trade across the
The CE label is self-regulated and is only questioned if
there are complaints about the product, while the German label
is awarded through an independent certified monitoring
"The Commission are considering an additional safety mark,
such as a "CE+" mark which would strengthen the current CE
mark," a Commission source said.
(Editing by David Cowell)