COMMENTS: Import-Export

If you are rich you can sport Prada and Louis Vuitton and Gucci and Fendi and Rolex and Coach and Chanel--otherwise, if federal prosecutors are correct, you could have contacted the 29 "importers, trucking officials and freight handlers" arrested in a bust of a suspected counterfeit smuggling ring. CBS' Bob Orr reported that the alleged knock-offs were imported from China and "destined for the streets of New York." If the fake labels had been authentic the 950 shipments of merchandise would have sold for $700m. Unidentified customs officials told NBC's Pete Williams that "bringing in phony high-end material is actually more lucrative than smuggling drugs."

ABC took a different angle on trade with China. A recall has been announced for 450,000 imported tires for SUVs, vans and pick-up trucks because of the risk of tread separation. The brands concerned are Westlake, Compass, Telluride and YKS. Lisa Stark (subscription required) told us that 10% of all tires used in the United States are Chinese imports. She reminded us that this recall follows those for pet food ingredients, toothpaste and toy train sets--all with a Made in the People's Republic label.


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