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U.S. Blocks Cotton Imports Tied to Forced Uyghur Labor in China

On Thursday, the United States blocked imports from 26 Chinese cotton traders and warehouse facilities as part of its ongoing efforts to eliminate goods produced with forced labor of Uyghur minorities from the U.S. supply chain, Reuters reported yesterday.

The companies were added to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List, which restricts the import of products linked to the alleged genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang region, the source mentioned.

U.S. officials believe Chinese authorities have established labor camps in the region where these groups are subjected to forced labor.

Many of the designated cotton companies are based outside of Xinjiang but source their cotton from the region. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that the designations will “help responsible companies conduct due diligence” to keep forced labor products out of the country.

The Chinese embassy in Washington criticized the move, describing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act as an instrument used by U.S. politicians to “disrupt stability in Xinjiang and contain China’s development.”

Since the act was passed in 2021, the U.S. has now restricted imports from 65 entities. Lawmakers are urging the Department of Homeland Security to expand the blacklist to include more Chinese companies in industries like polysilicon, aluminum, PVC and rayon.

The actions aim to address concerns over human rights abuses against mostly-Muslim Uyghurs, which the U.S. government has characterized as an ongoing genocide, despite denials from China.

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