Washington, D.C. – January 13, 2021 – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued the following statement on a withhold release order by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, blocking certain goods produced with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang province.
“Today’s order is a positive step towards stemming the flow of goods made with forced labor from Xinjiang, but there is vastly more that needs to be done,” Wyden said. “I intend to work with the Biden administration and use the Finance Committee to send the message that the United States must eliminate these products from our market and tell China in no uncertain terms that the world will not tolerate these human rights abuses.”
“This withhold release order is an important step toward holding the Chinese government accountable for human rights violations in Xinjiang, and protecting American workers and consumers who are harmed by corporations’ failures to prevent and eradicate human rights abuses in their supply chains. However, there is still more work to be done to help stop all imports and government purchases of products from China that are made with state-sanctioned forced labor,” said Brown. “I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee and the Biden-Harris Administration to use all the tools that we can to do so.”
The Chinese government has violated the human rights of more than a million Uyghurs and other Muslims by coercing them into a forced labor program that has extensively infiltrated global supply chains across multiple sectors.
In October, Wyden and Brown called on U.S. trade associations to take responsibility for supply chains and ensure American companies are not complicit in human rights abuses in Xinjiang. In September, Wyden and Brown sent a letter to Donald Trump urging him to take further and effective action to crack down on Chinese products imported into the U.S. that are made with forced labor.
In 2015, Wyden and Brown authored an update to U.S. law closing a loophole that allowed imports into the United States of many products produced with forced labor, including forced child labor.