U.S. bans all cotton, tomatoes from China’s Xinjiang region

The United States banned all imports of cotton and tomato from China's Xinjiang region citing evidence of slave labor in the region, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. Photo by SrA Alexandra Minor/U.S. Air Force

Jan. 14 (UPI) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday it will detain all cotton and tomato products produced in China’s Xinjiang region citing evidence of slave labor in the region.

The CBP issued a Withhold Release Order against cotton and tomato products produced in the region based on information that “reasonably indicates” the use of detainee or prison labor and situations of forced labor.

These forced labor indicators include debt bondage, restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages and abusive living and working conditions.

“DHS will not tolerate forced labor of any kind in U.S. supply chains. We will continue to protect the American people and investigate credible allegations of forced labor, we will prevent goods made by forced labor from entering our country and we demand the Chinese close their camps and stop their human rights violations,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.

CBP personnel at all U.S. ports of entry will be directed to detain apparel, textiles, tomato seeds, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and other goods made with cotton and tomatoes.

“Importers are responsible for ensuring the products they are attempting to import do not exploit forced labor at any point in their supply chain, including the production or harvesting of the raw material,” CBP said.

In 2020 the CBP issued Withhold Release Orders on hair products, garments, labor, apparel, cotton and processed cotton and computer parts from various producers in the region.


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