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The action hits two of the Chinese region's major commodity exports, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) acting commissioner Mark Morgan announced Tuesday.
An unprecedented move likely to stoke tensions between the world's largest economies, the sanctions include five other import bans from the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang due to U.S. allegations of "forced labor."
The "Withhold Release Orders" allow the CBP to detain shipments based on suspicions of forced labor, the latest of ongoing claims by the United States and its allies that China's vocational training centers designed to fight extremism are instead forced labor detainment camps.
The U.S. agency is blocking all Chinese products and byproducts in the tomato and textile supply chain manufactured by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co Ltd, Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co Ltd, the Lop County Industrial Park, and the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center, adding to the already-sanctioned Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co (July 1) and the Heifei Bitland Information Technology Co Ltd in Anhui, eastern China.
"We have reasonable but not conclusive evidence that there is a risk of forced labor in the supply chains involving cotton textiles and tomatoes coming out of Xinjiang," said CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith, who further stated that non-governmental organizations could be the entities to certify these allegations, even those that are creations of and funded by the U.S. State Department.
The State Department has also sent a letter to multinational corporations like Apple, Walmart, and Amazon, warning them of the risks from maintaining supply chains associated with the "human rights abuses" in the Xinjiang region.
China denies mistreatment of the Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centres needed to fight extremism.https://t.co/7zv8IGAxuW
The bans could pose far-reaching threats for U.S. retailers, apparel producers, and food manufacturers, as China produces 20% of the world's cotton, the majority of it from Xinjiang.
Despite the extensive labor and human rights abuses in U.S. supply chains and agricultural industries, including the widespread use of prison labor, this decision comes as the latest in the United States' contradictory, slanderous, and manipulative disinformation campaign against China's Xinjiang region, intended to discredit the epicenter of China's Belt and Road Initiative, the global trade network supplanting U.S. commercial hegemony.