India lifts ban on Chinese toys
India has lifted a six-month ban on import of toys from China, six weeks after imposing the restriction citing hazardous chemicals used in them.
Toys from China make up almost 90 percent of India's toy imports. The Indian toy market is estimated to be worth $2.5 billion.
A notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said on Monday the authorities would allow in the import of only those Chinese toys that conform to international health and safety standards followed in India.
The notification said the imported Chinese toys have to be accompanied by safety certificates from agencies and laboratories accredited to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation.
There had been speculation in "People's Daily of China" that Beijing was contemplating approaching the World Trade Organisation against India's ban on Chinese toys. China is India's largest trading partner.
Chinese toys make roughly 70 percent of the world's toy market.
Toys Association of India General Secretary Rajesh Arora said the ban on import of Chinese toys had been imposed most likely to protect the domestic industry where a large labour force is engaged. There are over 1,000 units in small-scale sector and a large number in the cottage industry.
India had put a blanket ban on the import of all Chinese toys on January 23 this year and Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said the action was taken due to health concerns as toxicity had been found in toys from China.
Chinese toys had come under the international scanner in 2007 when the world's leading toymaker Mattel recalled over 20 million Chinese toys the world over due to presence of excessive level of lead paint and other contaminants.