US blacklists 3 more Chinese firms for Uyghur slave labor

Three more Chinese companies have been banned from exporting their products to the United States due to their alleged use of Uyghur forced labor, bringing the total number of blacklisted firms to 68.
Footwear company Dongguan Oasis Shoes, shrimp producer Shandong Meijia Group and aluminum supplier Xinjiang Shenhuo Coal and Electricity were added to the Entity List under the 2021 Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, according to a statement.
The companies are accused of taking part in “labor transfer programs” run by authorities in East Turkistan (Xinjiang). The United States has described the programs as a system of forced labor, but Beijing says they are in fact voluntary poverty alleviation efforts.
“We have shown again through today’s enforcement actions that the United States is taking concrete steps to keep goods made with forced labor out of U.S. supply chains,” Under Secretary of Homeland Security Robert Silvers said in a statement about the blacklisting.
Silvers said American companies must “conduct due diligence and know where their products are coming from” to avoid importing tainted goods and violating laws against profiting from slave labor.
Only one of the three companies – Xinjiang Shenhuo Coal and Electricity – is based in East Turkistan (Xinjiang), where the majority of Uyghurs live and where China denies U.S. claims that a genocide is taking place.
The other two, Shandong Meijia Group and Dongguan Oasis Shoes, are based in coastal provinces, and are accused of transferring Uyghurs from East Turkistan (Xinjiang) to work in their factories.
Shandong Meijia is in the northern province of Shandong and Dongguan Oasis Shoes is in southern Guangdong Province.
Shandong Meijia Group participated in the program “to transfer and receive individuals from persecuted groups, including Uyghurs, out of [Xinjiang] for labor at its factory in Shandong,” according to the statement from the Department of Homeland Security.
The statement also quoted U.S. industry groups praising the listing for helping domestic companies avoid competing with slave labor.
“Shrimp supply chains have a disturbing pattern of profiting off of the globe’s most vulnerable populations,” said John Williams, the executive director of the Florida-based Southern Shrimp Alliance.
“Argentinian red shrimp packed by Uyghurs in Chinese seafood processing plants should not be competing with wholesome products in American grocery stores,” he said, adding that the move made clear that low costs “cannot replace ethical and legal obligations.”
Beijing has repeatedly rejected the claims that Uyghurs are subjected to forced labor in China and has in turn accused the United States of using the allegations as a pretext for protectionist trade policies.
rfa.org

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13/06/2024
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