United States has banned entry of cotton and tomato products from China’s Xinjiang region amid allegations that detainee or prison labour from Uyghurs went into making them. According to US Customs and Border Protection (CPB), it will detain cotton and tomato products produced in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region at all US ports of entry.
The ban, also known as a Withhold Release Order (WRO), was imposed following the emergence of reports indicating that the products were manufactured using forced labour from detained Uyghurs. The products banned include apparel, textiles, tomato seeds, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and other goods made with cotton and tomatoes.
CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan said, CBP will not tolerate the Chinese government’s exploitation of modern slavery to import goods into the United States below fair market value. He said the import of products using forced labour hurt American businesses that respect human rights and also expose unsuspecting consumers to unethical purchases.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.