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14 Jul 2023

Richard Vanderford, The Wall Street Journal

Milwaukee Tool is questioned over alleged use of Chinese forced labor

Milwaukee Tool is facing questions from U.S. lawmakers over the possible use of Chinese prison labor in its supply chain, a probe that comes amid U.S. efforts to crack down on the import of goods made with forced labor in China. 

Evidence shows that Milwaukee Tool, a maker of power tools and other construction products, might be sourcing work gloves from political prisoners working against their will, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.), and Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.) said in a letter sent to Milwaukee Tool Group President Steve Richman. The letter was made public at a hearing Tuesday... The two lawmakers head the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, or CECC, a government body that monitors Chinese compliance with human-rights standards. They asked the company to turn over information related to any internal investigations on its products’ links to prison labor.

... “We understand that Milwaukee Tool may have strongly worded policies against the use of forced labor … but the evidence in this case is very compelling,” they said... “Milwaukee Tool regularly conducts a complete and thorough review of our global operations and supply chain,” a spokeswoman said. “We have found no evidence to support the claims being made.”