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Imports from 26 Chinese textile firms banned by US over alleged Uyghur forced labour

Imports from 26 Chinese textile firms banned by US over alleged Uyghur forced labour

Photo shows workers at a restaurant waiting for customers in the Old Kashgar tourist area in China's northwestern Xinjiang region | Photo: AFP

Washington: US banned imports from 26 Chinese cotton traders or warehouses in an attempt to eliminate products manufactured using Uyghur minorities' forced labour from the US supply chain. These businesses have just been added to the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act Entity List, which prohibits the import of items connected to what the US government has declared to be an ongoing genocide against minorities in China's Xinjiang province.

Authorities in the United States suspect that in the western province of Xinjiang, China, labour camps have been set up for Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups. Beijing denies any abuses, Reuters reported.

According to a statement from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), many of the listed cotton enterprises are situated outside of Xinjiang but source their cotton from the area.

The designations help “responsible companies conduct due diligence so that, together, we can keep the products of forced labour out of our country,” Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, said in the statement.

The move was criticised by a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington. “The so-called ‘Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’ is just an instrument of a few US politicians to disrupt stability in Xinjiang and contain China’s development,” the spokesperson said.

Since the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act Entity List law was passed in 2021, Washington has blocked imports from 65 entities, according to the department.

“We enthusiastically endorse DHS’s action today to nearly double the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’s ‘Entity List’ — while recognizing that the current list remains only a fraction of the businesses complicit in forced labor,” Rep. Chris Smith and Sen. Jeff Merkley, chairs of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said in a statement

The lawmakers want the DHS to ban Chinese businesses from the polysilicon, aluminium, PVC, and rayon sectors as well as any other Asian business producing items for the US market using Xinjiang as a source of inputs.

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