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21 Jun 2022

Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region

Global coalition urges companies not to dump Uyghur-linked goods in non-US markets in wake of forced labour ban

"An Open Letter to Businesses" 21 June 2022

We, the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region, welcome the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) in the United States (U.S.). This groundbreaking law establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly, or in part, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, (Uyghur Region), or produced by certain entities implicated in forced labour, is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and that such goods, wares, articles, and merchandise are not entitled to entry to the U.S. [...]

We, therefore, call on all companies with global sourcing operations, including the hundreds of companies that have been credibly and publicly identified as operating in, or having business relationships in the Uyghur Region, to comply fully with the UFLPA and to apply a single global standard, consistent with the requirements of the law, across their entire supply chain for all retail markets. We also call on companies to refrain from re-exporting any goods denied entry to the U.S. under the auspices of the UFLPA and attempting to sell in other markets. Specifically, we ask these companies:

  1. In light of the UFLPA, and in consideration of existing and forthcoming laws in other jurisdictions, particularly the EU and EU Member States, does your company commit to apply a single global standard in regard to excluding Uyghur forced labour across your supply chains, aligned with the legal requirements set forth in the UFLPA?
  2. Is your company committed to not re-exporting goods detained under the auspices of the UFLPA to other markets?

Operating in the Uyghur Region in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights has become a practical impossibility. There are no valid means for companies to verify that any workplace in the Uyghur Region is free of forced labour or to prevent the use of forced labour in these workplaces in line with human rights due diligence; therefore, business must operate on the assumption that all products produced in part or in whole in the Uyghur Region are at high risk of being tainted by forced labour. [...]

The Coalition will continue to monitor brands and retailers’, in any industries, steps to meaningfully remove Uyghur forced labour from their global supply chains, and to work with policymakers to achieve harmonisation of laws by calling for more governments to adopt measures to ban products made by forced labour and raise business standards.

Part of the following timelines

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

China: Mounting concerns over forced labour in Xinjiang

USA: Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act comes into effect

Company responses regarding commitments to apply a single global standard aligned with Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA)