BEIJING (AP) _ Chinese government inspectors have concluded tires
made by a Chinese company that is the subject of a huge U.S. recall
meet official U.S. safety standards, news reports said Wednesday.
Officials issued the decision after inspecting the Hangzhou
Zhongce Rubber Co. and testing three tires at a government
laboratory, China Daily, the Oriental Morning Post and other
``Our sample tests on the tires show they're qualified to be sold
in the U.S.,'' said Wang Xin, an official of the General
Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine,
quoted by China Daily.
U.S. authorities ordered a recall of up to 450,000 tires made by
Hangzhou Zhongce after its U.S. distributor said they lacked a key
China has been hit by an avalanche of recalls and warnings in the
United States and elsewhere targeting Chinese exports, including
drug-laced seafood, toothpaste made with a toxic chemical and
children's toys with lead paint.
Beijing has launched a sweeping effort to repair the reputation
of its export industries and protect access to foreign markets,
promising more aggressive safety enforcement.
But the government also has challenged some warnings, saying most
Chinese goods have no problems and stressing some other countries
have a poorer product liability record.
The Hangzhou Zhongce case has received unusually prominent
coverage by Chinese news media because the company is the country's
second-biggest tire manufacturer. Many companies involved in other
recalls are small and less well-known.
Tires tested by the AQSIQ were found to meet U.S. standards,
known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 119, or FMVSS 119,
the Oriental Morning Post reported.
The tire recall was ordered after the U.S. distributor, Foreign
Tire Sales Inc. of Union, N.J., said they lacked a safety feature,
called a gum strip, that binds together belts of a tire. The company
said some tires had a gum strip that was about one-half the width of
the 0.6-millimetre strip FTS expected.
FTS was sued May 4 by the families of two men who were killed
when a van in which they were riding crashed in Pennsylvania on Aug.
12, 2006. The lawsuit says the van had Hangzhou Zhongce tires.
Hangzhou Zhongce has denied supplying faulty products.
In comments published in China Daily, the company played down the
significance of the gum strip.
``It's not included in the US Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, nor
in our contract with FTS,'' Shen Jinrong, chairman of the Hangzhou
Zhongce board of directors, was quoted saying.
Ma Liangqing, director of China's National Centre for Tire
Quality Inspection and Supervision, said the strip should not be
used as a safety measurement, the newspaper reported.
``Whether to have it, or how thick the strip is, are technical
issues. The designs vary in different companies,'' Ma was quoted
``The key is whether the finished products are up to standard.''