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"Santa’s Sweatshop: Made in D.C. with Bad Trade Policy" Documents Root Causes of Imported Toy Crisis

Report Provides New Data, Analysis Showing How U.S. Toy Corporations’ Push to Send Production Offshore Boosted Profits at Price of Children’s Safety

Posted: 12/19/2007

Although China and inadequate U.S. safety systems are often blamed, U.S. toy corporations' decisions to shift production to countries without adequate safety systems - and trade policies companies pushed through Congress that limit import safety standards and inspection - are the root causes of the imported toy safety crisis, according to a report released today by Public Citizen (PDF). Improving toy safety will require changes to trade policy as well as U.S. product safety policies, the report concludes.

"Our children's safety has been the price for soaring profits and CEO pay of major U.S. toy companies that have chosen to relocate their production to venues in which they cannot ensure the safety of their products," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division, which produced the report. "The main villains in this unhappy holiday story are the CEOs of major U.S. toy and retail companies who spent millions lobbying to lock in race-to-the-bottom offshore production strategies with trade agreements that protect their overseas investments while limiting import safety and inspection."

The report, Santa's Sweatshop: Made in D.C. With Bad Trade Policy, features new analysis of four decades of data on toy imports, production jobs and wages, toy firm profits, CEO pay and toy recalls. The analysis illustrates how the surge in recalls has coincided with the wholesale relocation of toy production offshore as U.S. toy firms have employed a long-term corporate strategy of seeking ever-cheaper wages and raw materials offshore while avoiding oversight and legal liability.

Read the full press release here.

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