The New York Times on Tuesday reports the Trump administration is considering imposing a ban on some or all products made with cotton from China’s Xinjiang region amid reports of forced labor and other human rights violations.
Quoting “three people familiar with the matter,” the newspaper said the U.S. action could come as early as Tuesday. It would follow recent studies and news reports documenting how groups of people in Xinjiang, especially the largely Uighur Muslim and Kazakh minorities, have been recruited into programs that assign them to work in factories, cotton farms, textile mills and menial jobs in cities.
Xinjiang is a major source of cotton and textiles used by many of the world’s largest and best-known clothing brands. A newspaper says a ban could result in a “stampede” of major apparel brands from China.
The Times says the ban would be issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agency, which has in the past put out such orders against individual companies suspected of using forced labor in Xinjiang.
The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized China over its harsh crackdown of Xinjiang’s minority ethnic Muslims, especially the mass incarceration of as many as 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
President Donald Trump signed legislation back in June that he said would hold accountable the perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses including forced labor, the use of indoctrination camps and other measures that he said are meant to eradicate the religious beliefs of Uighurs and other minorities in China.