by KRISTIN MORENCY GOLDMAN, senior communications specialist, The Toy Association
The Toy Association recently expanded its ability to tackle global regulations, threats, and opportunities on behalf of toy and play companies in key markets worldwide by forming a new International Committee.
An initial group of Toy Association member companies of all sizes has joined the committee and embraced its goal of ensuring that the Association’s external affairs team maintains the necessary responsiveness and resources to address legislative and regulatory issues, as well as market access initiatives, in dozens of countries. The committee’s work does not compromise The Toy Association’s existing, extensive, and primary responsibilities to members at the U.S. federal, state, local, and broader North American levels, where legislative and regulatory activity is at an all-time high.
“Protecting and advancing the business rights of our member companies is one of the most vital reasons for the existence of The Toy Association,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association. “As sales growth and opportunities for toy and play companies have burgeoned around the globe, our advocacy, training, and market access work has taken us to more than 40 nations. Whether it be in Brazil, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, or elsewhere, barriers to market entry, tariffs, or needless regulatory obstacles exist that require direct intervention. Such efforts — including in-person lobbying, drafting documents, and hiring outside counsel to assist our efforts — require significant and growing expenditures of both time and resources. The International Committee provides us with the necessary support to continually act with great agility to seize opportunities, assure product safety, level access to markets, and push back on threats.”
During the Committee’s inaugural meeting this spring, The Toy Association’s external affairs staff provided an overview of issues in Brazil, India, the European Union, the UK, France, and Saudi Arabia, including information on the development and enforcement of toy requirements and ordinances in those countries.
Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs, also provided an overview of the committee’s priorities for this year and discussed budgeting to fund those proposed priorities. He outlined the core committee functions and discussed potential collaborations with outside organizations to help advance the committee’s work.
“The International Committee is the only opportunity for Toy Association members to become involved in overseeing the external affairs department’s advocacy on international issues,” Desmond says. “We are hopeful that even more members will decide to join us, so that their voices can be heard on critical topics impacting their companies in countries and regions around the world.”
Toy companies are also reminded to take advantage of The Toy Association’s Safety Education Program, which provides participants with a detailed overview of the key state, federal, and international safety requirements impacting their businesses.
“These highly informative sessions are a terrific complement to the International Committee’s work, covering everything from testing and certification to how to navigate compliance-related barriers between markets,” Desmond adds. “It is critical that everyone in the toy community is knowledgeable regarding these requirements so that they can remain compliant, even as regulations and standards change.”
The Safety Education Program is free for all Toy Association members (accessible to nonmembers for a fee). It is available at toyassociation.org/education.
Toy Association members seeking direct participation and oversight in the International Committee may contact Desmond (firstname.lastname@example.org). Participation in the committee and access to its support services and expertise is open to any Toy Association member company. Dues are based upon the company’s sales outside North America; these funds are reserved to ensure the committee and external affairs team maintain necessary responsiveness and resources to address the range of global issues impacting the toy community.