The introduction of the ISO Toy Safety Standard later this year eventually will ease the burden on Hong Kong toy makers forced to test toys under two different systems for the US and Europe, according to the Hong Kong Toy Council.
Speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, Edmund Young Kak-sun said the European Community (EC) was drafting a standard expected to be released about June.
The ISO standard is expected to harmonise the European Community Standard, known as EN71, and the American Standard, ASTM.
The US and the EC are Hong Kong's two largest toy markets, accounting for 72 per cent of total exports of toys and games.
'Though Hong Kong toymakers will have to undergo three different testings at the beginning, it is hoped that the new ISO standard will replace the others to be the universal testing standard,' the council chairman said.
For the first 10 months last year, Hong Kong's total exports of toys showed a 5 per cent increase, much lower than the 12 per cent increase recorded in 1995.
Mr Young said the release of Hollywood blockbusters such as 101 Dalmatians , and the sequels of Batman , Star Wars and Jurassic Park should help kick-start the business after a difficult past year.
He forecasts the industry will register double-digit export growth this year.