New U.S. Government Actions on Forced Labor in Xinjiang
June 24, 2021
At the recent G7 Summit in Cornwall, United Kingdom, the world’s leading democracies stood united against forced labor, including in Xinjiang, and committed to ensure global supply chains are free from the use of forced labor. The United States is translating these commitments into action. The Biden-Harris administration is taking additional steps to hold those who engage in forced labor accountable and ensure that we continue to remove goods made with forced labor from our supply chains through actions by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Labor.
These actions demonstrate our commitment to imposing additional costs on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for engaging in cruel and inhumane forced labor practices and ensuring that Beijing plays by the rules of fair trade as part of the rules-based international order. The United States believes that state-sponsored forced labor in Xinjiang is both an affront to human dignity and an example of the PRC’s unfair economic practices. The PRC’s use of forced labor in Xinjiang is an integral part of its systematic abuses against the Uyghur population and other ethnic and religious minority groups, and addressing these abuses will remain a high priority for the Biden-Harris administration. The systematic abuses go beyond forced labor to include sexual violence and large-scale forced detentions, and the PRC continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.
The PRC’s forced labor practices run counter to our values as a nation and expose American consumers to unethical practices. They also leave American businesses and workers to compete on an uneven playing field by allowing firms to gain advantage over their competitors by exploiting workers and artificially suppressing wages. The United States will not tolerate forced labor in our supply chains and will continue to stand up for our values and for U.S. workers and businesses. This includes maintaining support for the development of transparent and diverse clean energy supply chains at home free of forced labor — and supporting President Biden’s commitment to bold climate action, the domestic solar industry, and the jobs this vital industry creates.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Issues Withhold Release Order (WRO): CBP has issued a WRO on silica-based products made by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., Ltd., a company located in Xinjiang, and its subsidiaries. This WRO is based on information reasonably indicating that Hoshine used forced labor to manufacture silica-based products. As a result, personnel at all U.S. ports of entry have been instructed to immediately begin detaining shipments that contain silica-based products made by Hoshine or materials and goods derived from or produced using those silica-based products. CBP investigates allegations of forced labor in U.S. supply chains and will continue investigating allegations in the polysilicon industry and other industries in Xinjiang and elsewhere.
CBP’s forced labor investigations have produced six Withhold Release Orders in Fiscal Year 2021, including one on cotton and tomato products from the Xinjiang region, another on cotton products originating from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and one on the Dalian Ocean Fishing Co., Ltd. As demonstrated by the Dalian WRO, the United States is also taking action to combat the PRC’s use of forced labor beyond Xinjiang – including in the seafood industry. Currently, 35 of 49 active WROs are on goods from the PRC, and 11 WROs are on goods made by forced labor from Xinjiang.
Department of Commerce Updates its Entity List: The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security added to the Entity List five PRC entities: Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan); Xinjiang Daqo New Energy; Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals; Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology, and XPCC— for participating in the practice of, accepting, or utilizing forced labor in Xinjiang and contributing to human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang. This action, which follows the 48 PRC entities previously added to the Entity List for their connections to human rights abuses in Xinjiang, restricts the export, reexport, or in-country transfer of commodities, software, and technology subject to the Export Administration Regulations where such entities are a party to the transactions (e.g., end-user, purchaser, intermediate or ultimate consignee).
Department of Labor Updates the “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor”: The Department of Labor has published a Federal Register Notice updating its “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor,” to include polysilicon produced with forced labor in the PRC. Every two years, the Department of Labor publishes an updated list of goods produced by child labor or forced labor in violation of international standards. This update is the first time a good has been added outside of that two-year cycle, highlighting its strong response to the severity of the ongoing human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang. The report currently includes other products from the PRC that have links to forced labor in Xinjiang or by Uyghur workers transferred to other parts of the PRC, including cotton, garments, footwear, electronics, gloves, hair products, textiles, thread/yarn, and tomato products.