US bars imports from 26 cotton manufacturers over Uygur forced labour

The United States blocked imports from 26 Chinese cotton traders or warehouse facilities on Thursday as part of its effort to eliminate goods made with the forced labour of Uygur minorities from the US supply chain.

The companies are the latest additions to the Uygur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List that restricts the import of goods tied to what the US government has characterised as an ongoing genocide of minorities in China’s Xinjiang region.

US officials believe Chinese authorities have established labour camps for Uygurs and other Muslim minority groups in China’s western Xinjiang region. Beijing denies any abuses.

Many of the cotton companies listed are based outside Xinjiang but source their cotton from the region, the US Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

Operators drive cotton pickers to operate in cotton fields in China’s Xinjiang region. Photo: Xinhua

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 Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Washington has restricted imports from 65 entities since the Uygur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List law was passed in 2021, according to the department.

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

The lawmakers want DHS to blacklist Chinese companies in the polysilicon, aluminium, PVC and rayon industries and any company in other parts of Asia making goods for the US market with inputs sourced from Xinjiang.



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