(TibetanReview.net, Jul15’21) – A bill which would create a “rebuttable presumption” that goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and therefore banned under the 1930 Tariff Act, unless otherwise certified by US authorities has passed the US Senate on Jul 14.
The measure would shift the burden of proof to importers. The current rule bans goods if there is reasonable evidence of forced labor.
The bipartisan bill was passed by unanimous consent and now goes to the House of Representatives before it goes to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign it into law.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who introduced the legislation with Democrat Jeff Merkley, called on the House to act quickly on the bill, which is titled as “The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act,” reported Reuters Jul 14
“We will not turn a blind eye to the CCP’s ongoing crimes against humanity, and we will not allow corporations a free pass to profit from those horrific abuses,” Rubio has said in a statement.
Likewise, Markley has said, “No American corporation should profit from these abuses. No American consumers should be inadvertently purchasing products from slave labor.”
The Biden administration has increased sanctions on China over the Xinjiang issue, and on Jul 13 issued an advisory warning businesses they could be in violation of US law if operations are linked even indirectly to surveillance networks in Xinjiang.
Rights groups, researchers, former residents and some Western lawmakers and officials say Xinjiang authorities have facilitated forced labor by detaining around a million Uyghurs and other primarily Muslim minorities since 2016, the report noted.