TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. Senate on Wednesday (July 14) passed a bill that would ban the import of all products from China’s Xinjiang region, where over 1 million ethnic Uyghur Muslims are estimated to have been held in concentration camps.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which still needs to pass in the House and be signed by President Biden before it becomes law, introduces a “rebuttable presumption,” meaning that all goods from Xinjiang will be presumed to have been made with forced labor and banned unless proven otherwise, per Reuters.
Existing import bans on solar panels, tomatoes, and cotton from the region would be extended to all goods under the act. While the rules already in place require the U.S. government to prove allegations of forced labor on products besides the aforementioned, the new law would transfer the burden of proof to importers.
The bill, introduced in the Senate by Democrat Jeff Merkley and Republican Marco Rubio, is expected to pass in the House by a near-unanimous vote.
"No American corporation should profit from these abuses. No American consumers should be inadvertently purchasing products from slave labor," Merkley said.
The move follows an advisory warning issued by the Biden administration on Tuesday, which alerted American companies to the civil and criminal liabilities that may befall those who fail to disentangle their supply chains from Xinjiang.