The US Senate approved the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention bill on Wednesday to prohibit all goods produced using forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region from entering US markets.
The bill has its roots in Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which forbids the import of goods made with forced labor in any foreign country. It establishes a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods from Xinjiang are mined, produced or manufactured with forced labor, until and unless the US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner decides otherwise after considering the importer’s records.
Furthermore, the bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to consult with other departments and submit to Congress a strategy to prohibit the import of goods made with forced labor in Xinjiang. This strategy must include a comprehensive assessment of the risks of importing goods made using forced labor in Xinjiang or by Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tibetans and other persecuted groups in other regions of China. It should also include a list of organizations working with the Chinese government to repress Uyghurs and other communities.
“We will not turn a blind eye to the CCP’s ongoing crimes against humanity, and we will not allow corporations a free pass to profit from those horrific abuses,” said Senator Marco Rubio, who introduced the bill with Senator Jeff Markley. Merkley said, “Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjian are being forced into labor, tortured, imprisoned, forcibly sterilized, and pressured to abandon their religious and cultural practices by the Chinese government. No American corporation should profit from these abuses.”
The bill will now go to the House of Representatives. Earlier this month, the US Department of Commerce restricted trade access to certain Chinese entities for potential human rights abuses in Xinjiang.