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USA bans all cotton products and tomatoes from Xinjiang over forced labour concerns

Image of a field of cotton

"U.S. Bans Xinjiang Cotton Products, Tomatoes Over Forced Labor" 14 January 2020

The U.S. will bar entry of all cotton products and tomatoes from China’s Xinjiang region, a sweeping move that prompted protests from Beijing and fresh vows to defend its companies.

The U.S. ban is the latest in a series of actions where the U.S. is raising pressure on China over alleged ill-treatment of its ethnic Uighur Muslim minority. The U.S. says the Chinese government has detained more than 1 million Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in “re-education” camps, allegations that Beijing denies.

The goods to be held at U.S. ports of entry include apparel, textiles, tomato seeds, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauce, Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said. The so-called withhold-release order will also apply to products manufactured in other countries that use cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang, he said. [...]

China criticized the U.S. decision Thursday, with a government spokesman saying it “violated trade rules, market economy principles, damaged global industrial supply chains and damaged the interests of companies and consumers” of all countries.

“The so-called forced labor is manufactured and fabricated by certain Western institutions and people, including the U.S.,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijiian said in Beijing. “The purpose is to crack down on relevant Chinese parties and companies and curb China’s development. The U.S. side created this lie and then took actions based on this lie.” [...]

In a statement, the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association and U.S. Fashion Industry Association asked the CBP to share the evidence and thresholds used to arrive at its findings. They also requested that the agency “share enforcement actions so that industry can further inform their due diligence and amplify and expand CBP’s enforcement efforts.” [...]

Part of the following stories

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

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