Written by Michael Martina and David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States government on Tuesday reinforced its warnings to companies about the growing risks of supply chain links and investments in China’s Xinjiang region, calling them forced labor and a human rights abuse in that region.
“Given the severity and scope of these abuses, companies and individuals who do not exit Xinjiang-related supply chains, businesses, or investments could be at risk of violating US law,” the State Department said in a statement.
Noting the broader US government coordination on the matter, the Department of Labor and the Office of the Trade Representative joined the updated advisory report, first published on July 1, 2020 during the Donald Trump administration by the Departments of State, Trade, National Security, and Treasury. .
The new notice reinforces the warning to US companies, stating that they risk breaking the law if their operations are “indirectly” linked to the Chinese government’s “extensive and growing surveillance network” in Xinjiang.
The notice is also intended to provide financial support to venture capital and private equity firms.
It also summarizes measures previously announced by the Biden government to address alleged forced labor and human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including Customs and Border Protection bans on some imports of solar energy products and sanctions against local businesses and entities.
On Friday, the government added 14 Chinese companies and other entities to its economic blacklist over allegations of human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang.
The notice said the Chinese government continues to commit “horrific abuses” in Xinjiang and elsewhere “against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, who are predominantly Muslims, and members of other ethnic and religious minorities.”
China denies the abuse and says it has set up vocational training centers in Xinjiang to deal with religious extremism.
U.S. Trade Representative Catherine Taye praised Canada, Mexico and other partners and allies for their commitment to ban the import of products made with forced labor.
(Reporting by Doina Chiaco; Editing in Spanish by Dario Fernandez and Javier Lira)