The International Trade Council acknowledges the United States' recent initiative to combat forced labor in global supply chains by placing import restrictions on three additional Chinese companies. This action is geared towards purging goods produced with the forced labor of Uyghur minorities from entering the U.S. market.
On the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List, Xinjiang Tianmian Foundation Textile Co Ltd, Xinjiang Tianshan Wool Textile Co. Ltd, and Xinjiang Zhongtai Group Co. Ltd have been newly included, elevating the total entities count to 27.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealed that these inclusions stem from the companies' business engagements implicating Uyghur minorities and other marginalized groups. Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, reinforced, "We stand firm against entities leveraging forced labor and violating human rights for monetary gains."
These enterprises have allegedly collaborated with the Xinjiang government to leverage the forced labor of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other repressed groups beyond the region's borders. Responding to the allegations, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin countered them as "the lie of the century", asserting they intend to tarnish China's reputation and stifle its growth.
The affected companies, all headquartered in Xinjiang, span various sectors – from yarn and textile products by Xinjiang Tianmian Foundation Textile Co to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other textile materials by Xinjiang Zhongtai Group Co, and wool and cashmere garments by Xinjiang Tianshan Wool Textile Co.
Notably, Xinjiang Zhongtai Group, in 2022, secured a position on Fortune magazine's esteemed list of top 500 global companies, as reported by the Xinhua state news agency.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List, established in 2021, mandates that imports into the U.S., either sourced from Xinjiang or from companies on the list, need certification that they aren't products of forced labor.
Persisting concerns revolve around the alleged establishment of labor camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's western Xinjiang region, claims that Beijing consistently refutes. The U.S. State Department accentuated these apprehensions, highlighting the necessity for businesses to rigorously assess and address potential forced labor and human rights risks within their operations.
Various advocacy groups, including notable figures like Senator Marco Rubio, advocate for rigorous and expansive enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.
In conclusion, the International Trade Council upholds the importance of ethical trade practices globally, echoing the sentiments against forced labor and advocating for a just and equitable international trading environment.