January 20, 2021

U.S. Bans All Cotton and Tomatoes From Xinjiang Region of China

Some textile and apparel companies that used cotton or yarn from Xinjiang have announced that they are severing ties, including Patagonia, Marks and Spencer and HM. But many firms have found it difficult to trace the origins of all the products used by their Chinese suppliers, especially given the lack of access for independent auditors to facilities in Xinjiang.

The order will “send a crystal-clear message to the trade community: know your supply chains,” said Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Importers are required to ensure that their own supply chains are free from forced labor, he added. “It’s the law.”

The Trump administration has added increasingly restrictive measures on Xinjiang, including placing sanctions on dozens of companies and individuals over alleged human rights violations.

In December, customs officials announced a ban on cotton products made by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an economic and paramilitary group that produces much of the region’s cotton. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has already detained 43 shipments valued at more than $2 million under that ban, officials said Wednesday.

Congress is also considering sweeping legislation that would block imports from Xinjiang, unless companies are able to prove that supply chains that run through the region are free of forced labor.

While the United States has taken the most forceful action on this front, both Canada and Britain introduced rules this week to limit goods linked to Xinjiang from entering their countries.

Despite growing concerns over Chinese practices in the region, exports from Xinjiang to the United States and Europe grew significantly from 2019 to 2020, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/business/economy/xinjiang-cotton-tomato-ban.html

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