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U.S. and China to Sign Recall Pact for Defective Auto Parts
September 11, 2007
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From Tire Review / Detroit News

NHTSA and the Chinese government will sign an agreement Sept. 12 that will help speed the recall of defective auto parts.

The agreement between U.S. and Chinese regulators comes on the heels of the recall of 255,000 defective Chinese-made tires -- after two deaths and one injury in accidents involving the tires -- and 305,000 engine fuses that could be linked to electrical fires.

The "memorandum of cooperation" gives NHTSA a tool to speed recalls of Chinese-made goods. If the agreement had been in place this summer when concerns arose about the tires, "we would have felt much more comfortable reaching out to the Chinese government and asking for their assistance," said Nicole Nason, NHTSA administrator.

"It would have been helpful to have the Chinese government contact the Chinese manufacturer to get the situtation quickly resolved," she said. "By quickly sharing information, this is going to help us expedite recalls."

NHTSA said the recall was delayed because of a holdup in getting information from China. The Chinese manufacturer refused to hand over data that would have helped U.S. regulators pinpoint any issues with the tires more quickly.

The agreement, which follows meetings in Beijing and Geneva last Fall, comes amid growing concern in the United States about the safety of Chinese-made goods. In recent months, there have been recalls of millions of Chinese-made toys, pet food, toothpaste and seafood.

"(The agreement) will help us resolve problems before they become a crisis," Nason said.

Last month, two auto parts importers -- including K Tools Corp. in Wixom -- said they planned to recall auto fuses because they didn't have the proper amperage and could cause engine fires.

Nason said as Chinese companies prepare to export automobiles into the U.S., it's important to remain vigilant.

China may surpass Canada as the leading importer to the U.S. by the 2008 fiscal year. This year, China is on pace to export $341 billion in goods to the United States, while Canada is expected to be export about $350 billion.