In yet another major setback to the crumbling relationship between the United States and China, the former has banned five exports from China's Xinjiang region over forced labour. The Trump Administration on Monday has banned cotton, hair products, computer components, and some textiles from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
"By taking this action, DHS is combating illegal and inhumane forced labor, a type of modern slavery, used to make goods that the Chinese government then tries to import into the United States. When China attempts to import these goods into our supply chains, it also disadvantages American workers and businesses", Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said.
Acting CBP Commissioner Mark A. Morgan said President Trump and this Department have, and always will, put American workers and businesses first and protect American citizens from participating in these egregious human rights violations. Adding further Cuccinelli said Trump Administration will not stand idly by and allow foreign companies to subject weak workers to forced labor while harming American businesses that uphold human rights and the rule of law.
Homeland Security in its official release said that the Withhold Release Orders (WRO) send a clear message to the international community that we will not tolerate the illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labor in U.S. supply chains.
The list of Withhold Release Orders (WRO) issued by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) include products made with labour from the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center, apparel produced by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co., hair products made in the Lop County Hair Product Industrial Park, cotton produced and processed by Xinjiang Junggar Cotton and Linen Co. in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the release said. Additionally, Computer parts made by Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co. in Anhui have also been banned as Hefei Bitland uses both prison and forced labor to produce electronics, the Homeland security said.
Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP's Office of Trade said that the series of actions CBP has taken against imports from China demonstrates the pervasive use of unethical and inhumane labor situations in China, and CBP will not turn a blind eye. Adding further he said allowing goods produced using forced labor into the US supply chain undermines the integrity of American imports as the consumers deserve and demand better.
The ban comes days after a bipartisan group of US Senators asked the CEO of Disney, Bob Chapek, to explain the company's cooperation with the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang during the production of the Mulan live-action remake.
Xinjiang is a region where the Chinese government is engaged in systemic human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities and has been receiving heavy backlash for its inhumane treatment on the Uyghurs globally.
(With ANI Inputs)