President's Letter - January 2009
As we turn the calendar page to a new year, I bring you greetings and
good wishes from the Toy Fair in Hong Kong!
2008 was a year of extraordinary events . . . many of which will have
their greatest impact in the coming months as the requirements of the
new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) become effective for
all companies in the toy industry.
TIA - WORKING TO ALLEVIATE ADVERSE IMPACTS OF THE
During the first half of 2008, TIA was heavily involved in advocating
for sound federal legislation that would prevent the proliferation of
different state regulations affecting toys. Following approval of the
CPSIA in August, we have been very active in addressing specific
concerns relating to the implementing regulations. I am pleased to
report that we have successfully influenced a number of critically
important changes and interpretations that will eliminate or reduce the
unintended consequences of the legislation:
We obtained significant relief and clarity in the CPSC’s
recently proposed rules providing exemptions from the lead standard for
inaccessible parts and electronics.
We have recommended common sense approaches for proposed civil penalty
criteria, and for the cautionary warnings that must accompany catalogues
and internet advertising.
We succeeded in obtaining CPSC approval of Internet-based solutions for
the new certification requirements.
Our strategy during the 2008 holiday shopping season was to focus our
influence on targeted audiences with private meetings and
correspondence. We avoided any public debate that could challenge our
industry’s commitment to toy safety or negatively influence retail
sales in an already difficult economy. With the holiday season behind us
and Congress returning to work, our advocacy efforts have increased
significantly. Additional comments have been submitted to the CPSC;
grassroots and media efforts have increased; and lobbying efforts
directed at the returning Congress have been ramped up. We are seeking a
delay in the February 10, 2009 effective date for lead requirements or a
reversal of the CPSC General Counsel’s opinion on the retroactive
applicability for lead content in existing inventory. We are also
seeking additional relief in the form of information, guidance, and
exemptions from the CPSC.
Our outreach efforts to date have included:
Meetings with President-elect Obama’s transition team to
brief them on CPSC/CPSIA matters;
Meetings with Congressional staff to discuss committee changes and
status of a proposed CPSIA hearing to be organized by Representative
Facilitation of a petition jointly signed by TIA, the National
Association of Manufacturers, and 33 other leading industry groups
requesting rules to reduce the burden on industry;
Encouragement of other Associations and Coalitions to contact CPSC
and Congress to seek relief from unwarranted and burdensome
Mobilizing TIA members to write thousands of letters to Congress
and the CPSC.
Moving forward, we will be:
Meeting with the new House and Senate committee leadership;
Preparing for a possible House hearing with Representative Rush and
Encouraging the House Small Business Committee hearing to consider
the CPSIA’s impact on small companies;
Investigating the feasibility of a TIA member “Washington, DC
Fly-In” to lobby members of Congress before the February 10, 2009
Submitting further comments on the remaining phthalates, testing
and lead issues;
Issuing additional grassroots “Call to Action”
campaigns to solicit letters from members of Congress to CPSC requesting
immediate guidance and prospective implementation of lead/phthalate
Capitalizing on media-outreach efforts to put the toy
industry’s messages before target audiences.
In addition to the outreach activities related to the approaching
February 10 deadlines, TIA is developing a longer-term federal advocacy
strategy for 2009 and beyond. Further, we are working with our state
lobbyists to develop plans that will help to prepare and position TIA
and the industry for another busy year at the state level.
INFORMATION AND SUPPORT FOR TOY COMPANIES
TIA also will continue its efforts to alleviate the impacts of the
CPSIA on your businesses, and to provide you with the information you
need to comply with the final rules. You may have already seen that our
first two CPSIA-related Safety Bulletins of the year were sent on
January 5 and 6 and our first two Action Alerts were issued yesterday
and today (January 12 and 13).
Another way that we are helping the industry comply with CPSIA is the
continued development of TIA’s Toy Safety Certification ProgramSM,
which will launch in phases throughout 2009.
TIA Toy Safety Certification ProgramSM
As you know, the CPSIA requires that CPSC initiate a program for
manufacturers to label product as compliant and to establish protocols
and standards for ongoing compliance. Historically, the Commission has
recognized industry-created compliance programs rather than imposing its
own. TIA’s TSCP offers a system that is effective with testing at
a reasonable level. The TSCP’s electronic self-certification
capability, which meets CPSIA General Certification of Conformity
requirements, will launch later this month.
We presented an overview of the full TSCP to nearly 100 TIA members at
the 2009 Hong Kong Toy Fair on January 8; we will offer another overview
at Toy Fair in New York on February 16.
While in Hong Kong, we also met with representatives of the Hong Kong-
and China-based toy producers and local government officials to talk
about the requirements of the CPSIA and the urgency of implementing an
industry-driven mechanism to assure reliable conformance with the
requirements of the new Act with the minimum cost burden on industry.
Representatives of major toy brands joined with TIA leadership in the
meetings and participated in our discussion of how TIA’s TSCP will
help to accomplish the testing and certification requirements in the
most cost-efficient manner. Chinese manufacturers and representatives of
the Chinese governmental safety authorities spoke at length about their
concerns regarding the practicality of the program. There was agreement
among all parties that the program must achieve cost reductions by
eliminating redundant testing in order to be embraced by the industry.
Representatives of the Chinese factories will be appointed as liaisons
to work with TIA on the refinement of the program.
Coordination of Global Toy Industry Efforts
Also in Hong Kong, the International Council of Toy Industries
(ICTI) hosted a meeting of toy company CEOs from around the world to
discuss the potential for better coordination of advocacy efforts on the
harmonization of global safety standards, challenges and opportunities
relating to environmentalism, and potential restrictions on marketing to
children. It was agreed that the global nature of the toy industry, and
the tendency for regulatory initiatives in one region to migrate to
other regions, argues strongly for such coordination. The CEOs agreed to
continue the dialogue and to work toward better coordination among the
toy industry trade associations around the world.
This is only a high-level overview of issues facing stakeholders in the
toy industry. For more information on any of the topics introduced
above, please log on to the TIA website or the TSPC website, or contact
a member of the TIA membership team to learn how you can add your voice
to our efforts and take advantage of the compliance assistance we
provide. Collectively, we can achieve a good outcome and make 2009 a
I look forward to seeing you at Toy Fair ’09 and the Toy Fair
Safety Seminar in New York City next month!