US House votes to impose forced labour ban on goods made in Xinjiang region
On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a law banning imports from China’s Xinjiang region because of concerns about forced labour. This is one of three measures that has received overwhelming backing, amid Washington’s push back against Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghurs Muslim minority.
The House backed the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” by an overwhelming 428-1. To become law, it must also pass the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden.
The bill passed, primarily focuses to ensure that ‘goods made with forced labour in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China do not enter the United States market.
“This is not a partisan issue. It is a human rights issue. It is a moral issue,” Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., the sponsor of the bill and a longtime human rights advocate, said on the House floor.
The bill creates a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods produced in Xinjiang were made using forced labour.
Corporations must be able to offer “clear and convincing evidence” that products from Xinjiang did not use forced labour during production.
Additionally, the bill calls for sanctions to be imposed on foreign entities and individuals who “knowingly” helped facilitate the use of Uyghur forced labor.
Products made in Xinjiang are fully integrated with global supply chains and major corporations including Coca-Cola and Nike lobbied unsuccessfully to prevent the bill’s passage.
The US House also passed a resolution Wednesday condemning the “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity” taking place in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs.
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