US House passes forced labour bill that would bar Xinjiang imports

US House passes forced labour bill that would bar Xinjiang imports

  • The legislation, which now goes to the Senate, would require any importer of Xinjiang-sourced products to prove they were not made using forced labour
  • The bill, called the Uygur Forced Labour Prevention Act, was approved by a vote of 406-3

US lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved legislation that would effectively ban imports from China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region because of suspected use of state-sponsored forced labour there.

Currently, the US bans the import of any goods if there is evidence that forced labour was involved in their production.

But the new legislation approved Tuesday would reverse that calculus for Xinjiang, meaning that importers could not source goods produced either wholly or in part in the region unless the US government could certify with “clear and convincing” evidence that they were not produced using forced labour.

Lawmakers approved the bill, called the Uygur Forced Labour Prevention Act, by a vote of 406-3.

The legislation now moves to the Senate. Differences between the chambers’ two versions would have to be reconciled before the bill is sent to the White House for President Donald Trump’s consideration.

If the Senate does not vote on the measure in this congressional session’s last few months – which is set to be dominated by not only the November elections but also Senate proceedings to confirm a new Supreme Court justice – it will be wiped off the docket in January and must be reintroduced.