Union minister of commerce and industry Kamal Nath yesterday defended India's ban on import of Chinese toys saying the decision was taken on the grounds of public safety and that it was compatible with World Trade Organisation rules.
India, last month, announced a ban on imports of several types of toys from China for six months after local manufacturers cited problems due to large scale imports from China.
''The question of banning Chinese toys was on the grounds of public health and safety," Kamal Nath said on the sidelines of a conference. He, however, did not give any further details.
''It is a matter which is of public concern rather than commercial, and public concern has to be given priority over commercial concern," he added.
China, meanwhile, threatened to move the World Trade Organisation investigate the six-month import ban, newspaper reports said.
Nath said, the ban does not in any way violate WTO rules as it was purely on public interest and no commercial considerations are involved. ''Before we take any action we make it sure it is WTO compatible," he added.
China, the world's largest manufacturer and exporter of toys, has faced a wave of complaints in recent times over toxic paints used for coating toys.
Mattel, the world's leading toymaker, had a year ago recalled over 21 million Chinese-made toys worldwide due to excessive levels of lead paint and other unsafe components.
In its enthusiasm to push exports China has tended to overlook the safety and quality aspects of the products it export.
Most recently, thousands of people in China itself have fallen ill as a result of consuming milk powder tainted with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics.