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Mercedes-Benz SUVs held up in Chinese customs for reported brake issue

It's unclear exactly what the problem is.

Nobody appears quite sure what Chinese customs is on about with this supposed brake issue.
Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The fledgling trade war is heating up between China and the US, but goods are still flowing to and fro. However, there appears to be a bit of an issue with a slew of US-built SUVs destined for The Middle Kingdom.

Shanghai customs is in possession of a number of US-built Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLS SUVs, which are being held over a potential safety issue, Reuters reports. The outlet claims that a document circulating on Chinese social media says the vehicles pose some kind of safety risk related to the rear brakes, and authorities currently deem them "insufficient."

Neither Mercedes-Benz nor parent company Daimler immediately returned requests for comment, but the latter did confirm the customs hold to Reuters. A Daimler spokeswoman told Reuters that the automaker is working to resolve the issue, which it described as "entirely technical."

It's not entirely clear what the alleged brake issue is. A quick scan of NHTSA's US consumer complaints for the 2016-2018 GLE-Class did not reveal any complaints related to the brake systems, nor is there any current recall for such an issue in the US. Daimler did not fully explain the issue to Reuters when it confirmed the customs hold.

This development comes amid growing trade battles between the US and China. Most recently, China said it would slap 25-percent tariffs on approximately $16 billion worth of US imports, including steel and cars. The two have gone back and forth applying tariffs as President Trump attempts to navigate the murky waters of global trade in order to reduce trade deficits with various nations, including China. The US Department of Commerce is currently investigating whether or not imported vehicles should be hit with tariffs to protect domestic manufacturing, despite just about every automaker saying that's not a good idea.