US halts thousands of containers from China over forced labor concerns

US halts thousands of containers from China over forced labor concerns

Thousands of containers of solar panel parts are stuck in US ports as US regulators fear parts are forcibly made in China’s Xinjiang region. This is what Reuters wrote based on its own research.

In December 2021, US President Joe Biden signed what is known as the “Prevention of Forced Labor of Uyghurs” law, which will stop all goods made in the Xinjiang region on the US border. The Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority, hail mainly from the Xinjiang region and are held by China in camps where they are forced to work, according to multiple investigations by human rights organizations and international media. With the law, which went into effect in June of this year, the United States wants to combat this forced labor.

The region produces parts of the solar panels that are used in the United States to make the economy more sustainable. Reuters writes that with more than a thousand containers piling up at US ports, these sustainable plans are lagging. The three Chinese companies that produced the parts have halted other deliveries amid fears that more containers will be halted.

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The European Union is working on a similar ban

China, which denies abuses in Xinjiang, has called on the United States to release the confiscated parts. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, citing Reuters, described the allegations of forced labor as “the lie of the century, fabricated by a small group of anti-China individuals.”

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The European Union wants to impose a ban similar to that of the United States. In order not to offend China, a blanket ban on goods made under duress is imposed, and neither China nor the Xinjiang region is specifically mentioned in the bill. The European Commission made the first proposal in September. It is expected that this ban will take at least a year to be signed and possibly longer before it takes effect.

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