Neal, Blumenauer, and Pascrell Call for Tougher Action to Combat China’s Use of Forced Labor
The Ways and Means leaders say the Trump Administration’s latest enforcement action falls short, and call for immediate Senate passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
Washington, DC, December 3, 2020
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on cotton products made by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC):
“While today’s WRO on cotton produced by the XPCC is a step in the right direction regarding the deplorable, inhumane treatment of Uyghurs and other minority Muslim populations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, it is clearly not enough. This WRO will only affect one sector, even though it is well documented that forced labor is rampant across Xinjiang and in a wide range of sectors. Today’s action underscores the need for the Senate to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act immediately. This legislation would take a much more aggressive and targeted approach to combatting forced labor in China, and it passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support earlier this year.
“More broadly, based on the Trump Administration’s track record, we have deep concerns about CBP’s ability to effectively enforce this WRO. Just this week, a GAO report yet again highlighted the administration’s failure to effectively enforce the prohibition of imports made with forced labor. As an independent government oversight agency, GAO’s objective and comprehensive findings reconfirm the urgent need for more meaningful enforcement to address the inhumane practices of forced labor in Xinjiang and across the world.
“The USMCA Implementation Act established the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force to address many of these enforcement problems. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security delayed establishing the body, and the Task Force still has not yet issued its first report, which was due to Congress several months ago. We are confident that President-elect Biden will take the issue of forced labor and enforcement against it more seriously than President Trump has these past four years.”