Stopping US imports from Xinjiang: So far so good?

Vogue Business’ Megan Doyle highlighted research from VOC’s Dr. Adrian Zenz, Senior Fellow and Director in China Studies, on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and its affect on US imports.

As the article discusses, “since implementation of the UFLPA began last June, US Customs Border Protection (CBP) has detained almost $2 billion worth of goods, ranging from electronics and manufacturing materials to apparel, footwear and textiles. Of the 982 detained fashion shipments, totalling almost $43 million, 556 were denied entry into the US for failing to provide documents showing the goods had no connection to forced labour.

‘This law is so drastic, so effective in theory. If it’s enforced properly, it fills this vacuum with a boom,’ says Adrian Zenz, director and senior research fellow of China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. It was his research into the Chinese government’s campaign against the Uyghur population from 2017 that prompted a hearing by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, leading to the enactment of the UFLPA.

However, researchers believe instances of forced labour in Xinjiang are on the rise, indicating that it will take more than external economic sanctions to see benefits for the estimated 100,000 Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities working in forced labour conditions. In February this year, the CBP secured a $64 million funding boost, taking its budget from $37 million in 2022 to $101 million to strengthen enforcement capabilities and close loopholes…Zenz compares this situation to the cotton supply chains in Uzbekistan, where forced and child labour was rife until 2021. ‘International sanctions in Uzbekistan were effective because the primary motivation was economic,’ he says. So, if you cut off the source of income, there’s no motivation left. In China, you have both, but the primary is political, meaning the situation for the Uyghurs is not going to improve very easily.” Recently, Better Cotton suspended the licence of a major cotton production partner in Uzbekistan following allegations of human rights abuses, showing that despite vast improvements in the region, forced labour is a complex problem that requires complex solutions and ongoing, long-term vigilance.”

Read the full article from Vogue Business here.

Dr. Adrian Zenz is the Senior Fellow and Director in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.