The United States has blocked imports of cotton from China due to labor violations

The United States has blocked imports of cotton from China due to labor violations

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will seize shipments containing cotton and cotton products originating from Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a major cotton producer in the region, home to about 11 million Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group.

The move comes as the organization continues to step up efforts to stop goods produced by forced labor entering the US market. This is the sixth order to block such products from China’s Xinjiang region and an increase within the scope.
In July, the US Out consultant Businesses are warning of the risks of forced labor in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government continues to crack down on Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious groups.

“The labels made in China” are not just about the country of origin, “said Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official at the Ministry of Homeland Security. “Those cheap cotton products that you may buy for family and friends during the season, if coming from China, may be made from slave labor in some of the most serious human rights abuses that exist today.”

The State Department estimates that more than 1 million Uyghurs, including members of other Muslim ethnic groups, are being held in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Network, officially named “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”, where they are reported to have been “subjected to torture, violence and abuse.”

On Wednesday, the CBP issued a so-called “cancellation order” on cotton from Xinjiang Manufacturing and Construction Company, which allows the agency to detain shipments in U.S. ports and give companies the opportunity to export goods or show that the goods were not made by forced labor.

The agency Issued 13 orders During fiscal year 2020, eight of those goods were mentioned by forced labor in China. In October, the CBP banned the import of palm oil and palm oil products from Malaysia after a half-year investigation into labor violations.

The latest orders apply to all cotton products from Xinjiang Manufacturing and Construction Co., Ltd. and related units such as textiles, clothing, oilseeds, cottonseed and paper.

“The accessibility of the XPCC is quite special in Xinjiang,” Cuccinelli said. The company employs about 12% of the population in Xinjiang and produces 17% of the Lao cotton industry, according to CBP.

United States Department of the Treasury Announcing sanctions In July, the Xinjiang Manufacturing and Construction Authority was involved in human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, including reports of human detention and serious physical abuse against Uyghurs.

Eighty-five percent of all cotton produced in China comes from Xinjiang, according to CBP Executive Director Brenda Smith, who noted the challenges for the industry in separating forced labor versus illegal goods.

However, CBP says it is the responsibility of American companies to ensure that they do not import products made by forced labor.

“These companies have a real responsibility to ensure that they act promptly because they have already been notified. There is no uncertainty there,” said Mark Morgan, senior executive at CBP.

In September, CNN reported that the CBP was considering wider regional restrictions on Chinese imports, which would target all cotton and soybean exports from Xinjiang to the United States.

While Wednesday’s order lacks regional constraints, it will have a huge impact on Xinjiang’s production and construction on the region and the cotton industry, Cuccinelli said.

He says regional orders are still “on the table” but the agency wants to ensure it is useful and operational before moving forward.

CNN’s Nectar Gan, Ben Westcott and James Griffiths contributed to this report.

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