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Toy Recall Prompts Call For 'Import Czar’

Senator says he would offer legislation to create the position at the Department of Commerce to protect consumer safety.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday the recall of millions of toys manufactured in China shows the United States should create an ''import czar'' to help protect consumer safety.
Schumer, D-N.Y., has long charged that Chinese trade and monetary policies unfairly hurt U.S. business — and that the Bush administration has been too lax in its dealings with the growing economic power.
In recent weeks, millions of Chinese-made toys, including popular Barbie, Polly Pocket, and Fisher-Price infant toys, have been the subject of recalls, many because they were made with hazardous lead paint or had tiny magnets that could be swallowed.
''The fact that every week we have to frantically pull Chinese goods off store shelves shows that our safeguards are failing,'' Schumer said in a statement.
The senator argued there are now too many different U.S. agencies overseeing imported goods, and said he would offer legislation to create an ''import czar'' at the Department of Commerce to coordinate those efforts and report on gaps in the system.
Last month, President Bush established a task force to investigate import safety, but Schumer said that was insufficient.
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