This week, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jeff Merkley, D-Oreg., and U.S. Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Chris Smith, R-NJ, sent a letter to President Joe Biden regarding their Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act which goes into effect no later than June 21, 2022.
The law bans the import of goods from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) unless companies can prove with clear and convincing evidence that items were not made with the use of slave labor.
All four lawmakers are original co-sponsors of the bill and leading members of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
The letter is below.
Dear Mr. President:
We write to underscore the importance of full implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (P.L. 117-78), which you signed into law on December 23, 2021. The bipartisan legislation’s resounding passage illustrates the American people’s desire to rid our supply chains of goods tainted with slave labor emanating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
As you know, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is engaged in well-documented human rights abuses against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Your administration, as well as the previous administration, have correctly determined that the CCP’s system of mass surveillance and internment, denial of the Uyghurs’ right to peacefully practice their religion, and use of forced labor, sexual violence, forced abortion, and forced sterilization of women constitute genocide and crimes against humanity.
Congress, on a bipartisan basis, has responded to the CCP’s crimes by passing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. In light of the high prevalence of forced labor in the XUAR and in coercive labor transfer programs elsewhere in the PRC, the law presumptively bans the import of goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly, or in part, in the XUAR or by certain entities identified by the administration that are engaged in labor transfer programs unless “clear and convincing evidence” to the contrary is presented by importers.
Per the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, the ban on the import of these goods goes into effect no later than June 21, 2022. It is critical, now more than ever, that this bipartisan legislation be rigorously implemented by targeting all entities, inside and outside the XUAR, that are complicit in using forced labor from the region. The PRC and CCP must understand that the United States will not be party to its genocide and crimes against humanity. As authors of the legislation, we anticipate that full implementation of the law by the administration will demonstrate U.S. global leadership on the issue of modern slavery and accomplish the intent of Congress to prevent anybody from profiting off atrocities and to protect American consumers from having to use and consume goods made from forced labor.
We stand ready to assist you in taking this important step to protect U.S. workers and consumers and to help end the egregious human rights crimes being committed against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in the XUAR. We look forward to the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force’s report on the implementation of the law and will monitor its progress to stop those entities from sending forced labor-made goods into our country. Thank you for your consideration.