DHS moves to block products made using forced labor in China from entering US

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The Department of Homeland Security on Monday issued five orders blocking the importation of products the department said were produced by forced labor in China.

“Today’s Withhold Release Orders send a clear message to the international community that we will not tolerate the illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labor in U.S. supply chains,” acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan said in a statement.

The orders apply to products made at several facilities in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region that DHS has designated as either internment camps or staffed by forced labor. Products manufactured at the sites include hair products, apparel, cotton and computer parts, according to DHS.

“The series of actions CBP has taken against imports from China demonstrates the pervasive use of unethical and inhumane labor conditions in China, and CBP will not turn a blind eye,” Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade, said in a statement. “Allowing goods produced using forced labor into the U.S. supply chain undermines the integrity of our imports. American consumers deserve and demand better.”

CBP has issued 12 such orders in fiscal 2020 thus far, according to the statement, eight of which concerned products manufactured in China.

In July, CBP announced it had seized a shipment of weaves it suspected were made from the hair of detainees in a Uighur internment camp. The shipment, also seized under a withhold release orders, was about 13 tons and had an estimated worth of over $800,000.

“The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in U.S. supply chains,” Smith said in a statement in July.


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