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22 Jan 2024

Richard Vanderford, Wall Street Journal

USA: Lawmakers urge administration to intensify actions against imports tied to Chinese forced labour, including e-commerce loopholes used by Shein and Temu

"Enforcement of China Forced-Labor Import Ban Needs to Be Much Tougher, Say U.S. Lawmakers" 22 January 2024

The bipartisan leaders of an influential congressional committee have urged the Biden administration to do more to crack down on the import of goods linked to Chinese forced labor, including by potentially ramping up criminal prosecutions and closing a trade loophole used by e-commerce companies Shein and Temu...

The committee leaders in the letter flagged a trade loophole known as the de minimis provision, which allows for packages valued at $800 or less and sent directly to U.S. consumers to enter the country with little scrutiny from Customs. More than one billion packages entered the U.S. by this route last fiscal year, and Shein and Temu account for about a third of that number, according to one Congressional report.

Both companies have been accused of selling goods made with forced labor. Temu said allegations against it are “completely ungrounded” and that it doesn’t depend on the de minimis provision for its growth. Shein didn’t respond to a request for comment...

The lawmakers also urged the expansion of a list of proscribed companies known as the “entity list” and drew attention to the import of classes of goods that have seen less scrutiny, whether because of their type or the country from which they ultimately shipped...The lawmakers said gold and seafood should be scrutinized as well, along with critical minerals such as lithium and cobalt, which are commonly used in electric cars...

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

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

USA: Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act comes into effect