“What I would do right now is I would stop all imports of these toys from China,” Obama said.
The senator suggested a ban on all toy imports from China during an economic roundtable in New Hampshire last week.
China last year exported $17.8 billion worth of toys, 37% of them to the United States, according to the China Toy Assn. The country manufactures 80% of the world’s toys.
But in recent months, amid a series of disturbing revelations about contaminated Chinese products, including pet food and toothpaste, toys have been a major source of safety worries, especially concerning lead paint. Yet anything that threatens China’s pocketbook and national pride predictably raises tempers. The foreign obsession with toy quality is genuinely baffling, if not self-indulgent and arrogant.
“Americans are only picking on us because our economy is doing well and we’re getting the Olympics,” said Chen Xuehua, 35, who was selling toys on Christmas Eve at Hongqiao market.
“Isn’t it inevitable that there is a trade-off between price and quality?” said Li Chenzi, 36, a U.S.-educated woman shopping with her 5-year-old daughter. “Of course, Chinese toys will not have the same safety standard.”
Especially to an older generation of Chinese, who were raised without the privileges today’s children enjoy, the foreign obsession with toy quality is genuinely baffling, if not self-indulgent and arrogant.
“Americans are making a big fuss over nothing,” said Jin Jian, 46, who says that as a boy he made his own toys from walnut shells. As for Obama, he said, “That . . . . [here's where the something unprintable comes in] won’t get elected if he tries to ban Chinese toys.”
Obama’s remarks about Chinese toys also provoked harsh retorts on Tianya, one of the largest Internet forums in China.
“Worse than Bush!” wrote one commentator. “An insult to China,” wrote another.
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