Toy Association Launches New Advocacy Committee to Manage International Issues

GlobalApril 19, 2021 | To ensure the continued effective management of an increasing number of global issues impacting the toy & play community, The Toy Association has evolved its membership levels and its advocacy committee structure to reflect the current and anticipated future needs of the industry.

As of this month, those Toy Association member companies selling internationally and seeking direct participation and oversight in the External Affairs department’s advocacy on international regulations, threats, and opportunities will have the ability to include a small dues increment based on their sales outside North America. Historically, for the Association and still for the majority of member companies, annual dues are based upon only North American sales.

These changes, approved by the Board of Directors and already embraced by an initial group of large, medium, and small companies, follows discussions over the past two years to ensure the external affairs team maintains necessary responsiveness and resources to address legislative and regulatory issues as well as market access initiatives in countries around the world. This comes without compromising or sacrificing extensive primary responsibilities to members at the U.S. federal, state, local, and broader North America levels where legislative and regulatory activity are 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,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO. “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 over 40 nations. Often, however, 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. As economies, governments, regulatory bodies, consumers, retail, and e-commerce swiftly change, we must continually sense and act with great agility to seize opportunities, assure product safety, level access to markets, and push back on threats.”

As part of this necessary evolution, the Board approved a change to the external affairs advocacy committee structure, creating a new International Committee which will meet at least monthly, and more frequently as needed, as well as convene annually to agree on overall strategy and budgeting for international advocacy activity.

The Toy Association will continue to coordinate a monthly meeting among the professional staffs of key trade associations including the Canadian Toy Association, Toy Industries of Europe, and the Asia Toy and Play Association. Toy Association staff will also continue to travel globally to participate directly in key advocacy initiatives, conduct safety and compliance trainings, and other necessary services and will be directly available to assist International Committee member companies when issues arise.

“The combined benefit and positive impact of these new and coordinated efforts will result in the most effective and efficient manner in which to address the increasingly important international issues agenda moving forward,” added Pasierb.

Questions about The Toy Association’s international advocacy efforts and the new International Committee may be directed to Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs. Questions about Toy Association membership may be directed to Ken Ebeling, executive vice president of strategic development and member services.