The United States has banned the import of goods from China’s western Xinjiang region. According to the US government, products from the region are produced by Uyghurs under forced labor. The Uyghur Compulsory Labor Prevention Act went into effect yesterday. ‘You can see the United States is at the forefront of awareness in these types of human rights cases,’ says sinologist RT Powers.
The new law only applies to imports into the United States. However, it will also have direct consequences for European companies. “If Dutch companies use parts from Xinjiang and want to export them to the United States, this also applies to Dutch companies (import ban ed.),” Bowers said.
Control is not possible
According to the cynologist, the law imposes a huge obligation on companies to ‘test the crazy supply chain’. “The burden of evidence is reversed, which means you have to prove that there is no forced labor, and that the Chinese government cannot control Xinjiang now because it is closing the whole area.”
According to Bouwers, it is easy to imagine that there will be more awareness in Europe about production in Xinjiang. European companies get solar panels, car batteries and cheap cotton from the region. “Do we need it?” A good example is the constant criticism of Volkswagen, a German carmaker with a factory in Xinjiang, which claims that its operations have a ‘positive impact’. Pressure on Volkswagen increased further this week as the largest shareholder also called on the company to account for Xinjiang.
At the end of May, new documents and photos were leaked under the name Xinjiang Police Files It reiterates how the Chinese government is brutally trying to control the region’s Muslim minority.
China Business Climate
Meanwhile, an annual survey by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China shows that doing business in the country is becoming increasingly difficult and that four European companies are considering leaving the country. “It’s a huge turnaround, it’s related to the war in Kovit and Ukraine,” Bowers says. “For years, if you ask companies, it was like ten percent.” Under its zero-Govt policy, China has implemented more stringent locks in major cities such as Shanghai in recent months.
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