Cotton products manufactured through slave labor in China will be detained upon entering the U.S., officials announced Wednesday.
The Nov. 30 withhold release order targets Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps following recent information that the company used forced labor from internment camps in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, officials with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said during a press conference.
The order says the Chinese government is committing systemic human rights abuses against the Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minority groups, according to CBP.
“Forced labor is not an isolated event as many believe, it’s pervasive with tens of millions of victims across the globe. These modern-day slavery networks, many of which are associated with transnational criminal organizations, generate a profit of about $150 billion annually,” CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said in a press conference Wednesday.
Morgan described the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) as a “tool of the Chinese Communist Party” that “employs an estimated 12% of Xinjiang’s population and generated 17% of its cotton-heavy industry.”
.@CBP has issued a detention order on cotton products originating from XPCC. China’s systemic abuse of forced labor in the Xinjiang Region should disturb every American business & consumer. CBP’s taking decisive action against goods made with forced labor. https://t.co/wRVAoYbSxn pic.twitter.com/z61g6MbSTQ
— CBP Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) December 2, 2020
The withhold release order will be in effect until the companies can prove that they are no longer using forced labor for production, Morgan said. CBP detained over 300 shipments worth $50 million in goods made with forced labor under 13 withhold release orders in the 2020 fiscal year, a spokesperson for the agency told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“We all should be united, this should be clear and simple: Any product coming from forced labor will not, should not make it to our borders and be introduced into our supply chain,” Morgan said. (RELATED: US To Block Cotton And Tomato Imports From China’s Xinjiang Region Amid Forced Labor Concerns)
CBP previously issued a withhold release order on multiple products from China including hair, computer parts, and cotton that were reportedly produced by state-sponsored slave labor within the Uyghur Autonomous Region, according to the DHS.
The investigation into the production of the goods from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is ongoing, according to CBP.
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