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USA to block cotton and tomato product from Xinjiang over allegations of human rights abuses

“U.S. to block cotton, tomato product imports China's Xinjiang over forced labor-CBP”, 8 September 2020

The United States… will move to block imports of cotton and tomato products from western China's Xinjiang region over allegations that they are produced with forced labor, officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Reuters.

The actions, which hit two of China's major commodity exports, will be announced at the White House along with five other import bans involving Xinjiang forced labor abuses…

The "Withhold Release Orders" allow the CBP to detain shipments based on suspicion of forced labor involvement under longstanding U.S. laws aimed at combating human trafficking, child labor and other human rights abuses…

CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith told Reuters in an interview that the effective import bans will 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…

In an announcement seen by Reuters, the CBP said it identified forced labor indicators involving the cotton, textile and tomato supply chains "including debt bondage, unfree movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive working and living conditions."

The agency also is blocking cotton produced by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and apparel produced by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co Ltd. It says these entities use prison labor from Chinese government administered "re-education" internment camps. In addition, CBP is blocking imports of products made at the Lop County Industrial Park as well as the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center. The moves follow the detention on July 1 of hair extensions and other goods from the Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co..

The CBP orders also block imports of computer parts made by the Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co Ltd, based in Anhui, China.

Part of the following stories

China: USA adds Chinese firms and entities to sanction lists over human rights abuses

China: Mounting concerns over forced labour in Xinjiang