U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on Monday it would delay an industry-wide ban of tomato and cotton produced in Xinjiang, a region in Northwest China. Our research shows that if such a ban were enacted, over 2,600 Chinese entities could be barred from U.S. import supply chains. The ban would be intended to combat China’s use of forced labor by Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, according to Reuters.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Deputy Secretary Kenneth Cuccinelli informed Reuters on Monday that the U.S. government is continuing to explore the implications of enacting an industry-wide ban. Cuccinelli told reporters that DHS’s primary concern is how to formulate regulations that could withstand legal suits, suggesting broader import restrictions could be imposed in the future.
CBP also announced new withhold release orders—which prevent goods made with forced labor from entering the U.S.—on goods produced by six Chinese entities due to forced labor concerns. Four of the six entities are located in Xinjiang, including one cotton producer and one apparel company.
Withhold Release Orders were issued on:
As of now, CBP withhold release orders will not impact supply chains provided they exclude the six entities identified. However, cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang still remain in U.S. regulators’ crosshairs and could be subject to further restrictions.