Which products reach the European market? At a time when German export surpluses in particular are becoming the subject of transatlantic discussions, the opposite direction of trade seems to have been somewhat lost sight of. Especially with regard to the German toy market and products imported from abroad. Owing to globally operating online platforms such as Amazon, which are detached from national jurisdiction, it is often too easy for goods to make it into local children’s rooms.

The Rapid Exchange of Information System (RAPEX) initiated by the EU has been providing a high level of security and sound documentation of continuously increasing cases of violations of corresponding EU laws for over a decade (in 2017 it was around 2,200). However, this does not seem to be enough. At least from the point of view of the German Toy Industry Association (DVSI).

Together with its European counterpart TIE (Toy Industries of Europe), the latter calls for attentive and strict market surveillance due to the fact of increasing numbers of cases. Both associations see an urgent political need for action to close the distribution channels for unsafe products.

Especially because end consumers increasingly order products online directly from countries outside the EU and, according to the European Commission, the majority of the documented, dangerous products come from these countries.

This would also destroy jobs and cause economic damage in the German toy industry, which is characterized by medium-sized and family-owned companies.

More and more foreign vendors, especially Chinese vendors, are storing their products in the logistics centers of internet sales portals. This enables them to deliver just as quickly as German dealers.

However, they are entering into unfair competition with German dealers. Logistics service providers such as Amazon, for example, are operating in a legal vacuum. Market surveillance cannot control the goods and the tax offices cannot collect taxes, the DVSI makes clear. In the case of tax evasion, infringement of industrial property rights, unsafe products or environmental offences, Chinese manufacturers and dealers would not have to fear fines because they are out of reach of German or European authorities.

According to the association, these “forms of crime” could only be combated by cutting off the distribution channels of the perpetrators. Politicians are strongly called upon to curb the flow of unsafe and counterfeit toys, especially toys sold from abroad to the EU and Germany via the Internet.

In addition, DVSI will continue to encourage Internet platform operators to take responsibility for the sale of unsafe and counterfeit goods and supports the European Commission’s first step in recommending that these platforms voluntarily do more than they have done so far in terms of toy safety.


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Link: www.dvsi.de

Image: iStock