Yesterday, I posted about contaminated honey imported from China.
Now, there's news that GE is recalling about 181,000 front-loading washing machines that were built there.
The problem with the washers? A wire can break in the machine and make contact with a metal part on the washtub while the machine is operating, posing fire and shock hazards to consumers. GE says that it is aware of seven incidents in which flames escaped the units and caused minor smoke damage. No injuries have been reported.
The machines being recalled were sold nationwide from December 2006 through May 2010, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is advising consumers to immediately stop them. The recalled washers should be unplugged, and consumers are being directed to contact GE for a free repair. More information is available in this press release.
Unfortunately, it seems that contaminated honey and faulty washers are merely symptomatic of even larger problems with the China supply chain.
An article in Thursday's New York Times points out that U.S. Senators are growing increasingly impatient with the Obama administration's lack of progress regarding concerns about China's policies on trade, currency and intellectual property.
According to the article, the Senate Finance Committee "did not appear impressed" with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner's testimony about the annual bilateral talks he attended in Beijing last month with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Despite Geithner's assurances that the administration would "apply the full arsenal of tools available" to ensure that China met its trading obligations, Senators on the committee are calling for a more concrete, strategic and coordinated U.S. economic policy with respect to China. Some are even signaling that they are willing to consider retaliatory measures. Since China seems unwilling to play be the same rules as everyone else, perhaps it's time to reconsider the rules that apply to that country, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said.