US ‘forced labor’ law bans goods from China’s Xinjiang region

The United States is rallying allies against forced labor in China’s Xinjiang as it begins implementing a law that bans goods from a region where Washington says Beijing is committing genocide against Uighurs and other Muslim groups.

US Customs and Border Protection started on Tuesday to enforce the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act”, which US President Joe Biden signed into law in December.

“We are rallying our allies and partners to make global supply chains free from the use of forced labor, to speak out against atrocities in Xinjiang, and to join us in calling on the government of the PRC [People’s Republic of China] to immediately end atrocities and human rights abuses, including forced labor,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Together with our interagency partners, we will continue to engage companies to remind them of US legal obligations,” Blinken said.

US Customs said it is ready to implement the law’s “rebuttable presumption” that all goods from Xinjiang, where Chinese authorities established detention camps for Uighurs and other Muslim groups, are made with forced labor and barred from import to the US unless it can be proven otherwise.

The agency has said a very high level of evidence would be required for importers to receive an exception to the law.

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