The USTR issued an advisory for US companies whose supply chains run through Xinjiang, China.
In doing so, the USTR joined other similar announcements from the US Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security and Labor.
In Xinjiang, the government of the People’s Republic of China and associated companies continue to subject Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities to forced labor, the USTR said.
The advisory draws urgent attention to supply chain risks for US companies and identifies serious investment and sourcing considerations for companies and individuals exposed to entities involved in forced labor and other human rights abuses linked to Xinjiang.
The notice also describes the actions of the United States government taken to date to counter the use of forced labor in Xinjiang and to prohibit the importation of goods produced in whole or in part with forced labor or convicted labor.
“Today’s action demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ending forced labor around the world, especially in global supply chains,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.
“Whether through World Trade Organization negotiations on fishing subsidies and the use of forced labor on fishing vessels, or by denouncing state-sponsored forced labor, our worker-centered trade policy will uphold the rights of workers and will address unfair competition, especially when it is based on human exploitation, ”Tai said in a statement.
“I want to congratulate our allies for sending a clear signal that there is no place for forced labor in a fair and rules-based international trading system. This includes Canada and Mexico, which have pledged to prohibit the importation of goods made with forced labor through the Mexico-United States-Canada Agreement. The European Union also shares our concerns and today issued its own business guide on how to help counter forced labor in global supply chains, ”added she Tai
Worldwide, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 25 million workers, adults and children, in forced labor on any given day.
According to the US Departments of State and Labor, various studies have documented that more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities have been wrongly imprisoned in internment camps within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Furthermore, these studies show that at least 100,000 workers have been subjected to forced labor in factories in industrial areas where the camps are located, or have been transferred outside of Xinjiang to factories in other parts of China.
G7 leaders meeting in Cornwall, England, recently tasked G7 Trade Ministers with identifying areas to strengthen cooperation and collective efforts to eradicate all forms of forced labor in global supply chains, ahead of the G7 meeting. G7 Trade Ministers in October 2021.