The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today withdrew its approval of the import and sale of 200,000 gas-powered off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles from China.
The agency alleges that tailpipe emissions information was either incomplete or falsified entirely. It is just the latest action that casts doubt on the quality or safety of Chinese products or the integrity of the firms that produce them.
This is the first time EPA has voided certificates of conformity for off-road or all-terrain vehicles. Moreover, it is only the second time the agency has done so for any type of vehicle.
EPA says it is considering an enforcement action under the Clean Air Act, which could lead to “significant financial penalties” against the businesses that manufactured or imported these types of recreational vehicles. The amount is still under consideration, an EPA official told me.
The revocation comes as the Obama Administration is desperately trying to prevent the U.S. Congress from introducing bills on reforming the Chinese Yuan or Renminbi (RMB), long an undervalued currency, which allows cheep Chinese goods to displace U.S. made ones. In an election year, and given the ongoing Great Recession, such bills – if introduced – will find widespread non-partisan support, and complicate the U.S.’s relationship with China, which holds large amounts of U.S. Treasury debt.
Back in May, EPA fined Pep Boys $5 million for importing non-compliant motorcycles, recreational vehicles and generators manufactured in China. (See Pep Boys Fined $5 Million for Clean Air Violations) More than 35 different Chinese manufacturers were building illegal vehicles and engines in that case.
In the latest case of the Chinese flouting U.S. law, EPA issued certificates in 2006 and 2007 to the U.S. counterparts of four of China’s largest manufacturers including Hensim USA (City of Industry, Calif.), Loncin USA (Hayward, Calif.), Peace Industry Group (Norcross, Ga.), and Seaseng (Pomona, Calif.).