Wexton Leads Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation to Crack Down on Imports Sourced from Uyghur Forced Labor
Washington, July 24, 2023
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Carlos A. Giménez (R-FL) led the introduction of the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act, legislation to require publicly traded companies to review and disclose all information about any links that their products may have to Uyghur forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It is estimated that over 100,000 Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are currently working under forced conditions in Xinjiang, which has tainted global supply chains of goods ranging from clothing to technology products.
“Products made with forced labor have no place on American store shelves,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “The American people deserve to know whether the clothes they wear or the technology they use every day was produced using forced labor. To make that happen we need greater scrutiny of goods sourced from the Chinese government’s prolific forced labor scheme involving the detention of tens of thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. My Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act takes the necessary next steps to build on major bipartisan progress Congress has made to stand up against the Chinese government’s exploitation of Uyghurs and crack down on this human rights atrocity.”
“The murderous Communist regime in Beijing continues to profit off of forced labor and the ongoing genocide against the Uyghur people of East Turkestan,” said Congressman Carlos A. Giménez. “Our bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act is a landmark piece of legislation that codifies America’s commitment to freedom, democracy, and Human Rights by ensuring that products manufactured in Communist China, using forced and exploitative labor, are adequately labeled as such. As a Member of the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, I look forward to continuing working across the aisle to protect America from the CCP’s deceptive, barbaric tactics.”
The Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission to establish rules requiring publicly traded companies to release annual reports of all imported goods that are sourced from Xinjiang, including information about the commercial activity, gross revenue, net profits, and future import plans for these goods, as well as whether they were produced in forced labor camps. The legislation would build on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which went into effect in June of last year, by intensifying the scrutiny of all imported goods whose supply chains include products from Xinjiang.
Importing goods and materials produced by forced labor has been illegal in the United States since 1930, but the lack of transparency in Xinjiang has made auditing supply chains nearly impossible. Some international auditing organizations have ceased all operations in the region altogether due to the difficulty of fulfilling auditing standards.
"The reintroduction of the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act holds immense significance for Uyghurs in the United States, including myself, who are well aware that the goods imported from China may be made with the forced labor of our family members. By holding companies accountable and ensuring transparency in supply chains, this bill will play a crucial role in identifying and addressing complicit actors, while ensuring the effective implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The level of transparency expected in the bill is what consumers, investors, and stakeholders need in order to sustainably eradicate Uyghur forced labor from our supply chains forever,” said Rushan Abbas, Executive Director of the Campaign for Uyghurs.
“The world's most profitable companies should not be able to hide whether they're benefitting from Uyghur forced labor—it's as simple as that. If the goal is to expose and eliminate forced labor from global supply chains connected to these corporate giants, this legislation would help do just that,” said Omer Kanat, Executive Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
Wexton’s district is home to one of the largest Uyghur diaspora populations in the country, and she has been a champion for Uyghur human rights in Congress. She was an original cosponsor of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and earlier this year introduced the bipartisan Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act to designate Uyghurs as priority refugees and expedite their ability to apply for asylum in the United States.
The bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act is cosponsored by Representatives André D. Carson (D-IN), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), and Dina Titus (D-NV).
The full text of the legislation can be found here.