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Mattel sorry for toy recall
- Firm admits design flaws

Beijing, Sept. 21 (AP): US-based toy giant Mattel Inc. issued an extraordinary apology to China yesterday over the recall of Chinese-made toys, taking the blame for design flaws and saying it had recalled more lead-tainted toys than justified.

The gesture by Thomas A. Debrowski, Mattel’s executive vice-president for worldwide operations, came at a meeting with Chinese product safety chief Li Changjiang, at which Li upbraided the company for maintaining weak safety controls. “Our reputation has been damaged lately by these recalls,” Debrowski told Li in a meeting at the Chinese safety chief’s office where reporters were present.

“Mattel takes full responsibility for these recalls and apologises personally to you, the Chinese people, and all our customers who received the toys,” Debrowski said.

The carefully-worded apology underscores China’s central role in Mattel’s business. The world’s largest toy maker has been in China for 25 years and about 65 per cent of its products are made in China.

The fence-mending call came ahead of an expected visit to China by Mattel’s chairman and chief executive, Robert A. Eckert. Following the massive recall, Eckert told US lawmakers he wanted to see Mattel’s mainland inspections first hand.

Mattel ordered three high-profile recalls this summer involving more than 21 million Chinese-made toys, including Barbie doll accessories and toy cars because of concerns about lead paint or tiny magnets that could be swallowed.

The recalls have prompted complaints from China that manufacturers were being blamed for design faults introduced by Mattel.

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