US: Customs agency moves to block imports from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns of ethnic minority forced labour
“U.S. prepares orders blocking cotton, tomato imports from China’s Xinjiang over forced labor”, 08 September 2020
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have prepared orders to block imports of cotton and tomato products from western China’s Xinjiang region over allegations they are produced with forced labor…
The cotton and tomato bans along with five other import bans over alleged Xinjiang forced-labor abuses would be an unprecedented move by CBP and likely stoke tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
… The United Nations has said it has credible reports that 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in the region, where they are put to work.
China denies mistreatment of the Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centers needed to fight extremism.
CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith told Reuters that the effective import bans would apply to the entire supply chains involving cotton, including cotton yarn, textiles and apparel, as well as tomatoes, tomato paste and other products exported from the region.
U.S. law requires the agency to detain shipments when there is an allegation of forced labor, such as from non-governmental organizations, she said.
The China Cotton Association, a trade body, declined to comment on Wednesday.
In March, U.S. lawmakers proposed legislation that would effectively assume that all goods produced in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and would require certification that they are not.
The State Department also said it sent a letter to top American companies … warning them over risks faced from maintaining supply chains associated with human rights abuses in Xinjiang region.
The CBP orders would also block imports of computer parts made by the Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co Ltd, based in Anhui, China.