5. Problems when importing toys from China
Now you are confident in sourcing a kid’s toy factory and picking the trendy product. But that’s not all to ensure you have a successful toy business. Almost every region and country have strict and specific rules for toy products as they are normally used by children. Beyond this, like all other products, the toy products you order may also have infringement problems. Let’s focus on this two aspects and study on how we can avoid such problems.
5.1 Problem of Toy Compliance and Safety
Compliance and safety are the first problem among others. As this is not only a problem facing at the custom, but also could be causing serious consequences for the customers. Different regions have different conditions on importing toys. Most of them will apply US or Europe standards. Here are the details.
US toys need to be following a mandatory set of rules and regulations under ASTM F963 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. And ASTM F963has several sections that address the mechanical or physical testing, flammability testing and chemical testing for toys.
To learn more about how ASTM international standards support consumer safety, you can visit www.astm.org. And for more information about the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) and compliance with the new law, visit www.cpsc.gov. And here is a list of CPSC-accepted labs that can be found labsearch. It can help you filter the CPSC-accepted labs by inputting the product name and place of origin.
First, all toys sold in the EU must carry a CE marking. By applying the CE marking to a product, the manufacturer declares that the product meets all the legal requirements for the CE market and can be sold throughout the European Economic Area.
Except CE marking, EN71 compliance is mandatory when importing toys to the European Union and it is a more complex factor then CE marking.
From Wikipedia, The standard has been published in 14 parts:
- EN 71-1: Mechanical and physical properties
- EN 71-2: Flammability
- EN 71-3: Specification for migration of certain elements
- EN 71-4: Experimental sets for chemistry and related activities
- EN 71-5: Chemical toys (sets) other than experimental sets
- EN 71-6: Graphical symbols for age warning labeling
- EN 71-7: Finger paints
- EN 71-8: Swings, slides and similar activity toys for indoor and outdoor family domestic use
- EN 71-9: Organic chemical compounds – Requirement
- EN 71-10: Organic chemical compounds – Sample preparation and extraction
- EN 71-11: Organic chemical compounds – Methods of analysis
- EN 71-12: N-nitrosamines and N-Nitrosatable Substances
- EN 71-13: Olfactory board games, cosmetic kits, and gustative games
- EN 71-14: Trampolines for domestic use
Among those, EN71-1,2,3 are of most importance. Chinese toy suppliers will not do all those tests and most of them are not EN71 compliant. So, EN71 compliance could be one of your filters to choose the toy supplier. However, EN71 is about the product, not the supplier. There are many chances that suppliers lower the quality as customers push on the price. And the product can not meet the quality standard in the end.
Strictly speaking, every batch of products produced by the supplier needs an EN71 test. In reality, not all customers request a separate certificate from the suppliers. If you are a small dealer, it could be fine if using the tests from the supplier. But if you own your brand and have a large batch of orders from China or other countries, you should go make the test in your name. And make sure to work with reputable test third parties like SGS, ITS, TUV to make the test more trustworthy.
5.2 Problem of Toy Infringement
Products with brand sell fast and with high profit. But infringement occurs easily when someone sells, imports, uses or makes a product that someone else invented.
From China wholesale market or small Chinese factories, you could find branded items easily, not only toys. There are also cases that the suppliers make slight changes on the product design or logo. Customers normally do not have profound knowledge about every product and they like to buy branded items.
To buy those products, you have to be sure if they are authorized. If they are not, there is potential risk that the products will be tested and inspected by both Chinese custom and foreign custom. Once it’s found out, the whole consignment will be detained and destroyed.