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A new law aims to stop products made with forced labor in Xinjiang from reaching U.S. store shelves. But some Chinese companies and importers are out to weaken it.
Editor’s note: The message below was delivered via email to Alliance for American Manufacturing digital advocates via email on Tuesday.
This should be an easy call.
The United States declared in 2017 that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was undertaking a genocide of the Uyghur people and other ethnic groups in China’s Xinjiang region. Study after study¹ has concluded the CCP is forcing Uyghurs and other oppressed people to work in factories, many making products for Western companies.
Congress took action in 2021, nearly unanimously passing a bill called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which bans all imports from Xinjiang unless importers can prove their goods aren’t made with forced labor. President Biden signed it.
It was an easy call. It was the right thing to do.
Now, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is beginning to enforce the new law, and Chinese companies and importers are working to undermine it. You and I can’t let them succeed!
In one recent article in The Wall Street Journal, representatives of Chinese solar panel manufacturers complained about the enforcement of the new law as if it’s a bureaucratic nuisance to resolve². It made my blood boil.
Now, I am a supporter of clean energy like solar. But that shouldn’t mean the U.S. should look the other way when it comes to rampant human rights violations, and multiple studies have shown the entire Chinese solar industry is dependent on forced labor. Rather than give these companies a pass that enables their human rights abuses, the U.S. must focus on boosting our own production and supply chains.
It’s not just solar, either. Everything from clothing to vinyl flooring³ has been found to be made with forced labor in Xinjiang, which is why Congress voted for such a broad ban in the first place.
Look, I’m the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. I obviously think the United States should put policy in place to encourage more domestic production and move factories out of China.
But, at the very least, our nation must not import stuff made with forced labor, which includes both the parts in a product and its final assembly.
It should be an easy call.
Thanks so much for raising your voice,
Alliance for American Manufacturing
¹ Xiuzhong Xu, Vicky & Cave, Danielle & Leipold, Dr. James & Munro, Kelsey & Ruser, Nathan. (2020) “Uyghurs for Sale.” Australian Strategic Policy Institute. https://www.aspi.org.au/report/uyghurs-sale; “Against Their Will: The Situation in Xinjiang.” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/against-their-will-the-situation-in-xinjiang
²Dvorak, Phred & Blunt, Katherine. (2022, Aug. 9) “U.S. Solar Shipments Are Hit by Import Ban on China’s Xinjiang Region.” The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-solar-shipments-are-hit-by-import-ban-on-chinas-xinjiang-region-11660037401
³Kelly, Annie. (2020, July 23) “‘Virtually entire’ fashion industry complicit in Uighur forced labour, say rights groups.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jul/23/virtually-entire-fashion-industry-complicit-in-uighur-forced-labour-say-rights-groups-china; Hvistendahl, Mara. (2022, June 14) “Toxic Tiles: How Vinyl Flooring Made With Uyghur Forced Labor Ends Up at Big Box Stores.” The Intercept. https://theintercept.com/2022/06/14/china-uyghur-forced-labor-pvc-home-depot/