DHS unveils strategy to prevent goods made by Uyghurs for forced labor in China

The The Department of Homeland Security On Friday, it released its strategy to stop the import of goods into the United States made by forced labor in China’s Xinjiang province – where Uyghur Muslims and other minorities are exploited.

“Our department is committed to ending the abhorrent practice of forced labor around the world, including in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region where the People’s Republic of China continues to systematically suppress and exploit Uyghurs and other Muslim-majority communities,” the Minister of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mallorcas said in a statement. “We must combat these inhumane and exploitative practices while ensuring that legitimate goods enter our ports and reach American businesses and consumers as quickly as possible.”

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Congress passed the Uyghur Prevention of Forced Labor Act in December last year to combat the import of goods from Xinjiang, where the United States and others have accused the Chinese of genocide and human rights abuses.

China It claimed to be involved in combating extremism and terrorism, but activists and governments instead cited significant evidence of mass detention, forced sterilization, forced labour, prohibition of religious and cultural practices, and torture.

August 13, 2011: Migrant workers shovel raw salt into the Qijiaojing salt field in Hami in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Chinatopix via AP)

The strategy means that any good that is partially manufactured in Xinjiang is assumed to be made from forced labor and will therefore become unacceptable to the United States.

The document provides guidance for importers, including due diligence and supply chain tracking and management. It also provides the kind of “clear and convincing” evidence that importers will need to prove that goods made in China were not made using forced labor. The strategy also provides a list of companies that are supposed to use forced labour.

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In contact with reporters, officials stressed that this list is not static and will look for evidence of other companies using slaves or forced labor.

“We are committed to eliminating forced labor, and there is a moral duty to do so. Forced labor is a scourge,” Robert Silvers, chair of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, said on the call. “We implement aggressively, and implement efficiently in a risk-based manner and in a manner consistent with our mandate to facilitate the flow of legitimate trade and goods.

CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said CBP is already working to prevent goods made from forced labor and that in fiscal year 2022 so far CBP has already blocked the import of more than $271.8 million in goods, and has seen four separate producers take action Corrective measures to stop the use of forced labor.

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Officials noted that the government has been warning of the dangers of doing business in Xinjiang since July 2020. The tough stance on Xinjiang and China’s treatment of Uyghurs has represented the Trump-era policy maintained by the Biden administration, and represents an area of ​​bipartisan agreement.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act In December President Biden signed off after securing bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.