WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today joined the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Labor in issuing an updated advisory for U.S. businesses whose supply chains run through Xinjiang, China, where the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and associated enterprises continue to subject Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities to forced labor.
The advisory calls urgent attention to U.S. businesses’ supply chain risks and identifies serious investing and sourcing considerations for businesses and individuals with exposure to entities engaged in forced labor and other human rights abuses linked to Xinjiang. The advisory also describes U.S. government actions 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 convict 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 the World Trade Organization negotiations on fishing subsidies and the use of forced labor on fishing vessels, or calling out state-sponsored forced labor, our worker-centered trade policy will champion workers’ rights and address unfair competition, especially when it is based on human exploitation.
“I want to commend our allies for sending a clear sign that there is no place for forced labor in a fair, rules-based international trading system. This includes Canada and Mexico, who have committed to ban the import of goods made with forced labor through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The European Union also shares our concerns and today issued its own business guidance on how to help counter forced labor in global supply chains.”
Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 25 million workers, adults and children, in forced labor on any given day. According to the U.S. Departments of State and Labor, several studies have documented more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities have been unjustly imprisoned in internment camps within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. These studies also show that at least one hundred thousand workers have been subjected to forced labor in factories in industrial areas where the camps are located, or have been transferred out of Xinjiang to factories in other parts of China.
G7 Leaders meeting at Cornwall, England, recently tasked the G7 Trade Ministers to identify areas for strengthened cooperation and collective efforts towards eradicating all forms of forced labor in global supply chains, ahead of the G7 Trade Ministers' meeting in October 2021. The United States will continue to play a leadership role in eradicating forced labor, including in Xinjiang, and pursue a trade agenda that protects workers from abuse and exploitation.