The GAO released a report on CPSC’s oversight of imported products. CPSC’s staff and resources have become strained in ensuring the safety of an increasing volume of toys, children’s clothing, and other items produced in foreign countries. Between 1998 and 2007, the value of imported products increased 101%, while products imported from China almost quadrupled to constitute 42% of all imports. The number and variety of products are also on rise, and increasingly complex products consist of parts from multiple countries.
The GAO recommends that CPSC efficiently implement the key provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), improve its ability to target shipments of unsafe products, and develop a long-term plan to ensure the safety of imported consumer products. Practically speaking, CPSC must develop a relationship with US Customs and Border Production (CBP) in order to access data necessary for identifying shipments and carrying out inspections.