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FROM THIS EPISODE

Toys, tires, foods and toothpaste have raised questions about the safety of imports from China. Is China trying to clean up its act? What about the demand for cheap products from US companies--and from consumers? We hear a program that's as relevant today, as the holiday season gets underway, as it was when it was first broadcast back in July. Also, does the failure of immigration reform mean a shortage of workers to cut Christmas trees? We go to Oregon for some answers. (This archived edition of To the Point will not air live on KCRW as it will be pre-empted by special holiday programming.)

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Karen Radziner

Reporter's Notebook Immigrant Labor and Your Christmas Tree

When Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, there were warnings of a shortage of workers, especially in agriculture. One seasonal crop that might be hard hit is Christmas trees.  Joe Sharp is owner of the Yule Tree Farms in Clackamas County, Oregon.

Guests:
Joe Sharp, Owner, Yule Tree Farms

Main Topic Chinese Imports and Product Safety

Confidence in the label "Made in China" is crucial to that nation's economic expansion.  Back in August, the international safety scare had caught the attention of Chinese officials.  After medicines turned out to be fakes, the former regulator of food and drugs was executed.  After Mattel recalled millions of his products, a toy maker hanged himself.  The safety of products made in China has been raising serious questions. Unsafe tires are one thing, but at the start of the holiday season, what about millions of toys with lead paint and tiny magnets little kids can swallow? Are American companies as much at fault as their Chinese suppliers?  Will consumers pay more for greater safety? What about Chinese consumers and the workers who deal with toxic substances?  We look for answers and talk with a woman who tried to stop buying Chinese products.

Guests:
Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety, Consumer Federation of America
Abigail Goldman, Reporter, Los Angeles Times
Bill Primosch, Senior Director of International Business Policy, National Association of Manufacturers
Sara Bongiorni, Author and former business reporter

Making News Despite Gloomy Forecasts, Will Shoppers Let Loose Anyway?

What with rising gasoline prices and the sub-prime mortgage crisis, there have been grim predictions about holiday shipping.  Retailers are braced for the worst, but there could be good news for consumers.  Kit Yarrow is a consumer psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California.

Guests:
Kit Yarrow, Professor of Consumer Psychology, Golden Gate University

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