Ban on cotton shipments a helpful first step to address labor abuse
Washington. The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today recognized the Trump administration’s effort to ban imports of cotton products from China’s Xinjiang region. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will start detaining shipments of cotton and cotton products originating from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a state-owned paramilitary organization. It’s widely believed that XPCC’s cotton products are produced through forced labor by ethnic Uighurs in northwest China.
“The use of forced labor throughout China is a serious affront to human rights as well as a form of trade cheating,” said CPA Chair Dan DiMicco. “There are numerous documented instances of multinational firms exploiting forced labor to mass-produce goods for export. This action to block XPCC’s cotton products is a helpful first step as the United States begins to more aggressively tackle China’s appalling practices.”
It’s estimated that since 2017, more than 1 million Uighurs and other minority groups have been forced into a vast network of “indoctrination” camps in the far west region of Xinjiang. Many are then transferred onward to factories in nine separate Chinese provinces.
A study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) found that the resulting conditions “strongly suggest forced labour.” At least 83 well-known global brands have used this coerced labor to manufacture their products, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony, and Volkswagen.
Recently, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) proposed a ban on the importation of goods produced via forced labor in the Xinjiang region of China. CPA sent a letter to the two Senators praising that effort while also urging Congress to pursue a country-wide ban on such products.
Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA, said, “It’s helpful that U.S. Customs will halt cotton products imported from Xianjing. However, this is a very small step when one considers the fate of millions of Uighurs toiling in forced labor throughout China. This isn’t simply about cotton products, or the Xianjing region. China’s brutal practices are far more widespread. It’s time for Congress to step up and confront Beijing with the possibility of a full ban on all Chinese imports until these inhumane practices are finally ended.”
Melissa Tallman, Director of Marketing and Communications
202.688.5145 ext 3