The US Proposes Ban On Exports From Xinjiang Due To Allegations Of Forced Labor



Image Credit – BBC


The United States has decided to ban key exports from the Xinjiang region of China. This decision comes after the rise of allegations of products being manufactured through forced labor.

The US has proposed to impose bans on many products including tomato and cotton products – two of the major commodities exported from China.

The Trump administration has been pressurizing the Chinese govt. for treating the Uighur Muslims of Xinjiang in a bad way.

In the past few years, the Chinese govt. has rapidly increased security in Xinjiang – a threat of separatism and terrorism cited as the cause.

According to reports, almost a million people have been detained by the Chinese govt. for minor infractions even without any trial. China has stated these as re-education camps.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is now preparing Withhold Release Orders that will allow the organization to detain shipments based on suspicions due to the involvement of forced labor. This law has been created to aim at combating child labor, human trafficking, and other human rights abuses.

In early 2020, the US lawmakers had proposed to assume that the goods produced in Xinjiang involved forced labor and asking the suppliers to provide certification of no forced labor would be necessary.

Washington and Beijing have been repeatedly fighting over the matter of high-security detention camps – as per the Chinese government, the detention camps are necessary for improving security.

CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith told Reuters in an interview: ‘We have reasonable but not conclusive evidence that there is a risk of forced labor in supply chains related to cotton textiles and tomatoes coming out of Xinjiang.’

To this, she added, ‘We will continue to work our investigations to fill in those gaps.’

However, these proposed bans could cast a great impact on US clothes makers, retailers, and food producers.

About 20% of the world’s cotton comes from China, most of which is produced in Xinjiang. This region is also a major source of petrochemicals and other goods that feed into Chinese factories.

The US entertainment giant Disney also faced the heat for shooting its upcoming film Mulan in the Xinjiang province.