The US government bans some Chinese companies in Xinjiang on allegations of abuse; plan more

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The Trump administration said it had banned imports from three companies in China’s Xinjiang region due to Beijing’s alleged crackdown on the Uyghur Muslim minority group, and planned to add restrictions on six more. businesses and target the region’s cotton, textiles and tomatoes.

On August 11, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a so-called restraint order – which they use to combat forced labor in global supply chains – against Hero Vast Group for using “The work of the convicts and the forced labor to produce the clothes he makes. CBP said in a statement Tuesday. It issued similar orders against Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. on June 17 and Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co. on May 1, he said.

Orders against the other six companies – three which operate in cotton, textiles and clothing, one in computer parts and two in hair products – will arrive by the end of this fiscal year, the report said. CBP.

The measures could have a large impact on the textile industry, which is heavily dependent on Chinese cotton. Xinjiang produces more than 80% of Chinese cotton and the United States imports some 30% of its clothing from China, according to a report released last October by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

No less than a million Uyghurs have been detained in camps that the Beijing government calls “voluntary education centers”. Those not in the camps live under ubiquitous surveillance, like facial recognition scans when entering gas station markets. Authorities have also banned “abnormal beards”, religious names for children and the observance of the traditional day fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The US government is taking action to combat the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive policies in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” the department said. Regarding the plan to issue an order against any cotton, textile or tomato in Xinjiang, he said the party and its state-owned enterprises “maintain a pervasive regime within XUAR that imposes forced labor in cultivation, harvest and production of these products. . “

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, denied on Tuesday that Beijing had set up re-education camps, calling them legally established vocational and educational training centers to prevent terrorism and radicalization. He was not specifically referring to the report on the possible Trump administration ban.

“For more than three consecutive years, there have been no violent terrorist incidents in Xinjiang,” Zhao said. “And at the end of 2019, all the interns have completed their courses and have a stable job. They lead a quiet life.

Xinjiang is China’s top cotton-producing region, accounting for over 80% of total production. Although China does not export the fiber, its domestic textile industry relies on cotton from Xinjiang to supplement the supply of its garment industry. Meanwhile, the United States accounts for about 30% of imports from China, the world’s largest buyer of fiber.

Other companies that face bans this exercise are:

  • The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, which the CBP said “is an economic and paramilitary organization that reports directly to the Chinese Communist Party” which the CCP uses as “a key vehicle to oppress ethnic and religious minorities” in Xinjiang
  • Xinjiang Junggar Cotton and Linen Co. and its subsidiaries, which, according to CBP, “use prison labor to produce cotton”
  • Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co.
  • Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co.
  • Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center, which, according to CBP, provides prison work and “would involve situations of arbitrary mass detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities and force them to work in industries in labor intensive while receiving political indoctrination. “
  • Lop County Hair Products Industrial Park

The U.S. Department of Commerce has added more than a dozen Chinese companies to its list of entities on human rights violations, which means companies face restrictions on access to technologies and tools. products of American origin. They included Nanjing Synergy Textiles Co. in July.

The Chinese textile industry, which had been hit along with its global peers by the coronavirus, has shown a modest recovery in recent months. Textile and clothing exports reached $ 56.5 billion in the first seven months of this year.

Rumors of a ban have been circulating in the Chinese textile industry for two years, and it could have a limited impact on the industry as some of the affected companies have moved their production facilities to Vietnam, said Wu Faxin, a cotton trader. seasoned with industry website. shaxianbao.cn. China is not a big exporter of cotton yarns or fabrics to the United States, but instead ships many man-made fiber products, he said.

Possible reprisals

China could retaliate with countermeasures, such as passing high tariffs on U.S. cotton or not allocating import quotas to U.S. supplies, Wu said.

China’s treatment of Uyghurs has sparked international outcry, and the Treasury Department has sanctioned four Chinese officials linked to the region, restricting their travel to the United States and blocking all financial ties.

Relations between the United States and China have deteriorated over Xinjiang and other issues, including the crackdown on democracy supporters in Hong Kong, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and complaints about the spread. of the coronavirus.

With less than two months of the US election, President Donald Trump has made the confrontation with the Chinese government and the country’s denunciations a central element of his campaign. At a White House press conference on Monday, Trump pledged to cut the United States’ economic ties with the world’s second-largest economy.

“We’re going to end our dependence on China because we can’t rely on China and I don’t want them to build an army like they are doing now and use our money for it. build, ”he said. .

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