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According to Nikkei Asia, the US government on Thursday added 26 textile businesses, including merchants and warehouses, to the list of organisations involved in forced labour because they may have connections to Uyghur labour camps in China’s Xinjiang province.

Products linked to these companies will now be prohibited from entering the US market as a result of this most recent decision. The same report also stated that this move will put more strain on the US market’s supply chains.

According to a report by the US Department of Homeland Security, companies in several Chinese provinces, including Henan, Jiangsu, Hubei, and Fujian, have been added to the list of businesses that have been forced to use forced labour, bringing the total to 76.

The Uyghur people, who are primarily Muslims, live in China’s Xinjiang province, where the US has taken action against the use of forced labour for production on several occasions.

People in this area have been victims of human rights violations committed by China; nevertheless, China refutes these allegations and asserts that their purported labour initiatives are meant to reduce poverty in the area.

A significant cotton-supplying region, Xinjiang, is normally prohibited from importing goods sourced “wholly or in part” from the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act (UFLPA). Approximately USD 3 billion worth of cargo have been flagged at the border as a result of enforcement since the act went into effect in June 2022. As a result, all goods originating in that area are regarded as the result of forced

The Entity List identifies particular businesses whose goods, or parts of other businesses’ final goods, are to have their entry into the nation prohibited.

According to the Nikkei Asia report, authorities have indicated that specific industries, including cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon—a crucial raw ingredient for solar panels—need more attention.

The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party wrote to Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, in January of this year recommending stricter enforcement of the Uniform Foreign Labour Law Act (UFLPA) by including non-Chinese firms in the list, among other measures.

Adrian Zenz, a scholar on the subject, has pointed out that a major problem facing the US government is the opaqueness of China’s domestic supply networks. As per his statement provided to Nikkei Asia A clause in the UFLPA mandates that intra-Chinese supply chains be closely watched due to the possibility of workforce transfers to other provinces. Given that Xinjiang exports relatively little of its own produced goods. The Entity List is ideally adapted to counter or handle the issue of intermediaries, which provide the biggest danger.”

Nikkei Asia also cites research conducted by Zenz, which found that the number of workers transferred under the “pairing assistance” programme increased by 38% between 2022 and 2023. However, the study also notes that since the Chinese government has ceased to release statistics, there may be a decline in future understanding of labour transfer programmes.

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