U.S. to Ban Imports From China's Xinjiang Region, Citing Forced Labor

Headline Roundup January 13th, 2021

On Wednesday, the Trump administration issued a ban on all cotton and tomato imports from western China’s Xinjiang region due to allegations that they are made with forced labor from detained Uighur Muslims, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Xinjiang accounts for nearly 20% of global cotton production; the U.S. imported $9 billion in cotton products and $10 million in tomatoes from China last year. “Imports made on the cheap by using forced labor hurt American businesses that respect human rights and also expose unsuspecting consumers to unethical purchases,” CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said in the statement. The Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act is up for consideration in the Senate; the proposal would ban all products imported from Xinjiang unless customs officials verify the product was made without forced labor.

Coverage from center- and left-rated outlets tended to frame the story as an effort by the Trump administration to harden the U.S.' economic standing against Beijing, and provided speculation about how Biden would respond to the China-U.S. relationship once he takes office. Right-rated outlets tended to highlight the CBP's remarks on forced labor.

U.S. to Ban Imports From China's Xinjiang Region, Citing Forced Labor

From the Right
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U.S. Customs and Border Patrol issued a ban on imports of cotton and tomatoes from the Xinjiang region in China, citing Beijing’s use of forced labor.

Around 20 percent of the world’s cotton is picked in Xinjiang, and the region is also a major exporter of tomatoes, which are used to make ketchup for the U.S. market. The U.S. imported $9 billion in cotton products and $10 million in tomatoes from China during the past year.

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From the Left
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The Trump administration Wednesday issued a sweeping ban on imports of cotton or tomato products from China’s Xinjiang region, saying it had reviewed evidence of forced labor in the region.

The move is the administration’s latest effort to punish China over what Western officials and human rights groups call the country’s campaign of repression against the Muslim Uighur population of Xinjiang, which has included the population’s mass detention in camps.

The ban, which covers everything from cotton apparel to canned tomatoes, will affect a wide array of U.S. importers. Xinjiang...

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From the Center
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The United States is imposing a region-wide ban on all cotton and tomato products from western China’s Xinjiang region over allegations that they are made with forced labor from detained Uighur Muslims, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Wednesday.

The action applies to raw fibers, apparel and textiles made from Xinjiang-grown cotton, as well as tomato-based food products and seeds from the region. The ban, knows as a withhold release order, also applies to products processed or manufactured in third countries, CBP officials told a news briefing.

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