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30 Aug 2021

Chad Bray, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

USA: Hong Kong shirtmaker Esquel Group resumes lawsuit in bid to remove Xinjiang unit from sanctions list

"Hong Kong shirtmaker Esquel Group resumes lawsuit in bid to remove Xinjiang unit from US forced-labour sanctions list", 30 August 2021

Hong Kong-based Esquel Group, one of the world's biggest shirtmakers, said it had resumed litigation to remove its Xinjiang unit from an American blacklist after it failed to reach an agreement with the US Commerce Department on what conditions it could be removed.

Earlier this month, Esquel won a rare victory over a US blacklisting when the End-User Review Committee, a US inter-agency body, voted to remove its Changji Esquel unit under certain conditions from the so-called entity list, which prohibits it from buying from American suppliers.

"Despite good-faith efforts since early August, Esquel Group and the US Department of Commerce have not been able to come to a resolution, as the US government is unable to provide any concrete timeline by which it could finally remove [Changji Esquel] from the entity list," Esquel said in a statement. "In the meantime, Esquel has suffered substantial, ongoing, and irreparable harms that have continued and even worsened in the last month."

Esquel said US Customs and Border Protection had held and excluded from entry "a large number of shipments" from its factories outside China in the past month, potentially forcing it to miss commitments to customers and causing "permanent economic and reputational damages".

"This heightens the need for emergency relief," Esquel said. [...]

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

Brands face boycott in China over decision not to source Xinjiang cotton due to allegations of forced labour