US Blocks Imports From 26 More Chinese Companies Tied to Uyghur Forced Labor

By Jace Dela Cruz

May 17, 2024 03:24 AM EDT

The United States announced Thursday that it blocked imports from 26 Chinese cotton traders or warehouse facilities as part of its efforts to remove products produced by Uyghur forced laborers from the US supply chain. 

People hold up flags and signs during a protest in Washington, DC on February 5, 2023, marking the 26th anniversary of the 1997 Ghulja massacre in Ghulja City, in the Xinjiang province of China.

US Blocks Imports of Chinese Companies Implicated in Uyghur Forced Labor

According to Reuters, these companies have been added to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List, which bans the importation of goods into the US produced in China's western Xinjiang region, where labor camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups were allegedly established.

The US government believes that these products are connected to what it has depicted as an ongoing genocide of minorities in Xinjiang. However, the Chinese government denies any abuses.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act prohibits the importation of all products from Xinjiang unless companies prove that production does not involve forced labor.

In a statement, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that starting May 17, goods produced by the 26 companies will be prohibited from entering the US. 

"The Department of Homeland Security will not tolerate forced labor in our nation's supply chains," DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the statement. 

"Today's announcement strengthens our enforcement of the UFLPA and helps responsible companies conduct due diligence so that, together, we can keep the products of forced labor out of our country," he added.

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US Holds China Accountable For Abuse of the Uyghur People

The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), chaired by DHS, said this action demonstrates the US' dedication to eliminating forced labor from its supply chain and holding accountable those allegedly involved in abuses against Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang.

According to Alejandro Mayorkas, the US will continue to execute its textile enforcement strategy and hold China accountable "for their exploitation and abuse of the Uyghur people."

Since the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act was passed in December 2021, the US has already restricted imports from 65 entities. The DHS said that Thursday's announcement marks one of the biggest expansions to the list.

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