The US is to halt key exports from China’s Xinjiang region because of allegations that they’re produced using forced labour.
The two of China’s major exports products cotton and tomato are being considered for the proposed ban. The Chinese are under increasing pressure from Trump administration for its treatment of Xinjiang’s Uighur Muslims. The security has been enhanced to large extent in Xinjiang citing a threat of separatism and terrorism.
It is estimated that up to 1,000,000 people are detained without trial for minor infractions, in what China says are re-education camps. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is currently preparing Withhold Release Orders which allows it to detain shipments in the wake of forced labour suspicions.
The law is aimed toward combating human trafficking, child labour and other human rights abuses.
Earlier this year US lawmakers proposed legislation that might assume that each one good produced in Xinjiang was made with forced labour and would require certification that they’re not.
Washington and Beijing have repeatedly clashed over the high-security detention camps, which China says are necessary to enhance security.
“We have reasonable but not conclusive evidence that there’s a risk of forced labour in supply chains associated with cotton textiles and tomatoes beginning of Xinjiang,” CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith told Reuters in an interview.
“We will still work our investigations to fill in those gaps,” she added.
The enforcement of ban could have a far-reaching impact for US retailers, clothes makers and food producers as Chinese production constitutes about 20% of the world’s cotton with most of it coming from Xinjiang. The region is additionally a serious source of petrochemicals and other goods that feed into Chinese factories.
This week, US entertainment giant Disney came under attack for shooting its new film Mulan within the Xinjiang province. beside target of a boycott after its lead actress backed a crackdown on Hong Kong protesters.