DHS Adds 26 Chinese Textile Firms to Forced Labor List

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the addition of 26 textile companies based in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List. Effective May 17, 2024, goods produced by these entities will be restricted from entering the United States. This action targets cotton manufacturers outside the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) that source cotton from the XUAR, enhancing transparency and enabling responsible companies to conduct due diligence on their supply chains to ensure they do not include goods made with forced labor.

The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), chaired by DHS, is implementing these measures as part of the United States’ commitment to eradicating forced labor from U.S. supply chains and holding accountable those responsible for the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other minority groups in the XUAR.

“The Department of Homeland Security will not tolerate forced labor in our nation’s supply chains,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Today’s announcement strengthens our enforcement of the UFLPA and helps responsible companies conduct due diligence so that, together, we can keep the products of forced labor out of our country. We will continue to execute on our textile enforcement strategy and hold the PRC accountable for their exploitation and abuse of the Uyghur people.”

Since the UFLPA was enacted in December 2021, the FLETF has added 65 entities to the UFLPA Entity List. These entities span sectors including apparel, agriculture, polysilicon, plastics, chemicals, batteries, household appliances, electronics, and food additives. The interagency FLETF – which includes the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Justice, Labor, State, and the Treasury – unanimously voted to add the 26 companies, marking the largest single expansion of the UFLPA Entity List to date.

“Today we add 26 additional companies to the UFLPA Entity List,” said DHS Under Secretary for Policy Robert Silvers, Chair of the FLETF. “We have shown again through today’s enforcement actions that the United States is taking action to prevent forced labor in U.S. supply chains. Companies must conduct due diligence and know where their products are coming from. The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force will continue to designate entities known to violate our laws, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue its vigilant enforcement at our ports.”

This action supports DHS’ Textile Enforcement Plan, prioritizing the examination and review of textile entities for possible inclusion on the UFLPA Entity List. The FLETF will continue to consider future designations as part of broader forced labor enforcement efforts.

The 26 entities added to the UFLPA Entity List include cotton traders and warehouse facilities operating primarily outside the XUAR. Identifying these entities provides U.S. importers with crucial information to conduct due diligence and ensure compliance with the UFLPA, preventing the incorporation of forced labor products into U.S. supply chains. The FLETF found that 21 entities source and sell cotton from the XUAR on the wholesale market, while five additional entities also source cotton from the region.

Prior to the UFLPA’s implementation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection had already issued a Withhold Release Order on cotton from the XUAR. Additionally, cotton products were designated as a high-priority sector under the 2022 Strategy to Prevent Importation of Goods Mined, Produced, or Manufactured with Forced Labor in the PRC. The UFLPA Entity List initially included 10 textile entities before this latest expansion.

The bipartisan UFLPA, signed by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. in December 2021, mandates that CBP apply a rebuttable presumption that goods produced in the XUAR or by listed entities are prohibited from importation unless proven otherwise. Since June 2022, CBP has reviewed over 8,000 shipments valued at more than $3 billion under the UFLPA. Homeland Security Investigations, through the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking, supports investigations and international cooperation on human rights abuses and forced labor in the XUAR.

This announcement aligns with President Biden’s memorandum on advancing worker empowerment and labor standards globally, representing a comprehensive government approach to promoting labor rights, including DHS’s implementation of the UFLPA. The expansion of the UFLPA Entity List reflects DHS’ prioritization of combating forced labor in U.S. supply chains, as outlined in the Department’s recent Quadrennial Homeland Security Review.–News Desk