US halts imports from China's Uighur region for forced labor

US halts imports from China's Uighur region for forced labor

"The Trump Administration has led the world in calling attention to the Chinese Communist Party's egregious human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and we've taken action to back up our rhetoric", said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement.

Nevertheless, the issue has become a source of friction between the USA and China amid tensions that have escalated under President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration on Monday said it will block USA imports of cotton, apparel and other products from five specific entities in western China's Xinjiang region, but has shelved proposed region-wide bans on all Xinjiang-produced cotton and tomato products. Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the Trump administration is still studying the more sweeping measure. Information reasonably indicates this site is manufacturing products with forced labor of the Uyghur people and other minority ethnic groups who are detained in "re-education" internment camps in Xinjiang.

CBP officials said they are now studying a measure to place a block on all cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang.

"Allowing goods produced using forced labor into the US supply chain undermines the integrity of our imports".

Chinese authorities have detained more than a million people - from mostly Muslim ethnic groups that include Uighurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz - in a vast network of detention centers as part of an assimilation campaign.

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"We can use our economic power to tell businesses that we will not stand idly by and allow foreign companies to prey upon vulnerable workers while harming American businesses that respect human rights and the rule of law", Morgan said on the call.

The CBP orders apply to cotton produced and processed by Xinjiang Junggar Cotton and Linen Xinjiang; apparel produced by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Xinjiang; hair products made in the Lop County Hair Product Industrial Park in Xinjiang; all products made with labor from the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center in Xinjiang; and computer parts made by Hefei Bitland Information Technology Anhui Province.

CBP did not identify any USA companies that do business with the named entities.

"We want to make sure that when we do get challenged - and we assume that we will be challenged, legally - that we will prevail and none of the goods we would ultimately would seize under such a WRO would be shaken loose and released into the United States", he said.

China denies mistreatment of the Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centers needed to fight extremism.

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