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  • Eyes on Trade is a blog by the staff of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch (GTW) division. GTW aims to promote democracy by challenging corporate globalization, arguing that the current globalization model is neither a random inevitability nor "free trade." Eyes on Trade is a space for interested parties to share information about globalization and trade issues, and in particular for us to share our watchdogging insights with you! GTW director Lori Wallach's initial post explains it all.

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December 19, 2007

New report: Santa's Sweatshops were made in DC

No, not "Banned in DC," "Made in DC."

Just in time for the holidays, we've released a new report: "Santa's Sweatshop: Made in DC With Bad Trade Policy," which looks at the root causes of the current imported toy safety scare. It's complementary to some of the other reports released this year, some of which go into detail about specific bad products. Ours is a little different in that it goes further back in time to look at the making of the current safety crisis, and also how trade agreements like the WTO, NAFTA, and NAFTA expansions to Peru and elsewhere, actually limit what kinds of domestic safety policies we can have.

There will be releases and events around the country today and tomorrow, including Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Texas.

Here's a teaser from our press release:

PUBLIC CITIZEN PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Dec. 19, 2007                                  

New Report, ‘Santa’s Sweatshop: Made in D.C. with Bad Trade Policy,’ Documents Root Causes of Imported Toy Crisis

Report Provides New Data, Analysis Showing How U.S. Toy Corporations’ Push to Send Production Offshore Boosted Profits at Price of Children’s Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Although China and inadequate U.S. safety systems are often blamed, U.S. toy corporations’ decisions to shift production to countries without adequate safety systems - and trade policies companies pushed through Congress that limit import safety standards and inspection - are the root causes of the imported toy safety crisis, according to a report released today by Public Citizen. Improving toy safety will require changes to trade policy as well as U.S. product safety policies, the report concludes.

“Our children’s safety has been the price for soaring profits and CEO pay of major U.S. toy companies that have chosen to relocate their production to venues in which they cannot ensure the safety of their products,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division, which produced the report. “The main villains in this unhappy holiday story are the CEOs of major U.S. toy and retail companies who spent millions lobbying to lock in race-to-the-bottom offshore production strategies with trade agreements that protect their overseas investments while limiting import safety and inspection.”

Read the rest of the press release here; and the report here. Also, read more here about the current legislation in Congress on product safety, and how it's inadequate for addressing the imported toy safety crisis.

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