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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with another defective import from China.

You know about the pet food and the toothpaste and the toys coated with lead paint. And now the latest hazard is tires. Federal officials have told the New Jersey importer to recall 450,000 radial tires for pickup trucks, SUVs and vans.

It happened when the company called Foreign Tire Sales disclosed that its Chinese manufacturer had stopped including a safety feature that prevented the tires from coming apart.

Tread separation is the same defect that led to the recall of millions of Firestone tires back in 2000. This time the defect came to light after Foreign Tire Sales was sued over a fatal accident; killed two passengers and seriously injured a third. Foreign Tire Sales says it doesn't have the money for a recall.

But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will not help out with the costs either. Top officials at the agency have expressed anger that the importer waited more than two years to pass on its suspicions about the tires.

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