US cuts imports from Xinjiang on allegations of forced labor – International

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President Joe Biden on Thursday (23) signed a law that bans the entry into the United States of a wide range of products manufactured in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, amid allegations that forced labor is practiced by the Uighur minority.

The regulation prohibits the importation of products made in whole or in part into Xinjiang, unless it is demonstrated to customs authorities that they are not the result of forced labor. This is an unprecedented rule in the world.

The law requires special attention to imports of three products: cotton, as Xinjiang is one of the world’s largest producers; Tomatoes, also produced on a large scale in the region; and polysilicon, a material used in the production of photovoltaic panels.

Thus, the government receives “new tools to prevent entry into Xinjiang products manufactured with forced labor and to hold people and institutions accountable for these abuses,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday. said in. Calls on the Chinese government to end “genocide and crimes against humanity”.

According to the White House, the text “prohibits foreigners responsible for forced labor in the region”.

Beijing criticized the move on Friday, accusing the United States of “violating international law” and “maliciously defaming”.

In a statement, the Chinese foreign ministry urged the United States to “immediately correct its mistakes” and threatened the world’s biggest power with “a new response”.

The Senate’s unanimous approval of the law on 16 December was a victory for those who advocate an aggressive policy to combat human rights violations.

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The rules were adopted despite a lobbying campaign by companies that argued the measure would harm global supply chains, which are already under severe pressure from the pandemic.

When signing the text, Democrat Biden thanked Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, one of the bill’s authors, who indicated the White House.

“This is by far the most important and effective measure to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its resources for forced labor,” Rubio said in a statement on Thursday.

However, during the legislative process, the Republican opposition accused the White House of trying to dilute the text.

– Problems with Intel –

Western countries accused Beijing of trapping Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim and Turkish-speaking community in western China, in large labor camps.

On Thursday, the Commerce and Treasury Departments announced new sanctions against Chinese biotech and high-tech companies that were accused of serving their country’s government in expanding Uighur surveillance.

The Treasury banned Americans from doing business with eight high-tech companies, including DJI, the world’s largest drone company, which had been on the Commerce Department’s blacklist for two years.

But US strikes against law enforcement and, in general, some Chinese economic interests could create friction. Something that came to light this Thursday with the controversy over US semiconductor giant Intel.

Following the passage of legislation in the Senate and a battery of US sanctions against Chinese companies, Intel sent an email to its suppliers demanding that they avoid buying in the region.

This generated strong disapproval in China, which the chip maker tried to appease with a statement published on Chinese social media platform Weibo: “Our initial intention was to ensure respect for US law (…). Sorry for the problems caused. Our respected Chinese customers, our partners and the public.”

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When asked about Intel’s statement, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki commented, “We believe that the private sector and the international community should oppose China’s tooling of their markets to prevent human rights support.”

DJI

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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