USA blocks China imports over 'forced labor'

Andrew Cummings
September 15, 2020

The Trump administration issued new import restrictions on Monday against Chinese companies it accuses of using slave labor, including products from suspected mass prison camps in China's western Xinjiang region.

CBP issued what is known as a "withhold release order", that blocks shipments from the companies and facility at USA ports unless companies involved can prove the goods were produced without the use of forced labor. "It's modern slavery", said Ken Cuccinelli, Deputy Minister of Homeland Security.

The flags of the United States and China are displayed as President Donald Trump and the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, meet at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 29, 2019. Today, we continue this record as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued five new Withhold Release Orders (WRO) for certain goods produced in the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Among the measures under consideration is an order banning cotton and tomatoes from the entire Xinjiang region, a move that could have significant economic effects. Cuccinelli said that stronger action was still under review by the United States administration.

"We are gathering more evidence there but also just doing a more thorough legal analysis to make sure we can withstand any legal assault once we proceed with it", he said in a conference call with reporters.

Recently, US CBP has stepped up its efforts targeting forced labor - issuing 12 orders in fiscal year 2020, including eight focused on goods from China. Information reasonably indicates that Hefei Bitland uses both prison and forced labor to produce electronics.

"The Trump Administration will not stand idly by and allow foreign companies to subject vulnerable workers to forced labor while harming American businesses that respect human rights and the rule of law", acting CBP Commissioner Mark A. Morgan said in a statement. Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co.

CBP chief Mark Morgan said officials also hope businesses look at their own supply chains, and USA consumers take a closer look at what they're buying so they can bring their own pressure to bear on China."We can use our economic power to tell businesses we will not stand by", Mr. Morgan said.

An enhanced security state began to take shape in Xinjiang after 2009, when race riots left around 200 people dead in the capital city of Urumqi.

But in July, the US sanctioned Chinese Communist Party officials, the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) for their role in constructing and operating "re-education" camps, where over 1 million Uighurs have been detained.

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

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