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U.S. Senate Backs Bill to Ban Xinjiang Goods Unless Waiver Given

GlobalJul 15, 2021 07:50
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2/2 © Bloomberg. A squad of police officers wearing protective masks patrol the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar in Urumqi, Xinjiang province, China, on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. China has told nations criticizing its policies in Xinjiang to stop interfering in domestic affairs. Source: Bloomberg/Bloomberg 2/2

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would ban all goods from or made in China’s Xinjiang region unless importers can prove they weren’t made with forced labor, the latest move to punish Beijing for its treatment of its Uyghur ethnic minority.The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act requires the U.S Department of Homeland Security to create a list of entities who collaborate with the Chinese government in the repression ofcreate a list of entities working with the Chinese government to suppress Uyghurs and other groups. It also contains a “rebuttable presumption” that assumes all goods were made with forced labor unless the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection gives an exception.

“Once this bill passes the House, and is signed by the president, the United States will have more tools to prevent products made with forced labor from entering our nation’s supply chains,” Senator Marco Rubio said in a statement.

The U.S. has repeatedly criticized Beijing over its actions in Xinjiang, saying they amount to genocide and crimes against humanity. A group of United Nations experts said in 2018 that anywhere from tens of thousands to “upwards of 1 million” Uyghurs have been detained, while a labor-transfer program has generated concerns that participants are coerced into taking jobs.

In response, Washington has put import bans on cotton, tomatoes and some solar products originating from Xinjiang. The U.S., the European Union, the U.K. and Canada have all announced sanctions on Chinese officials over their treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, leading to retaliatory action by Beijing.

China denies any forced labor, calling it the “biggest lie of the century,” and says its policies are lifting the region out of poverty, boosting the economy and countering extremism.

Last week, The U.S. added 34 entities to its economic blacklist, including 14 Chinese enterprises that are alleged to be involved in human-rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.The latest bill, which passed the Senate unanimously, also broadens the scope of asset- and visa-blocking sanctions related to Xinjiang to include foreign individuals and entities.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

U.S. Senate Backs Bill to Ban Xinjiang Goods Unless Waiver Given
 

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