US blacklists China-based companies over forced labor concerns involving Uyghurs

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Washington added more China-based companies to a blacklist Tuesday, barring their goods from entering the United States as officials seek to remove forced labor -- especially involving minorities like the Uyghur people -- from supply chains.

Battery maker Camel Group, along with spices and extract company Chenguang Biotech Group, are the latest to be included in the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) entity list, according to US authorities.

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The firms were targeted over accusations of working with China’s government to recruit, transport or receive forced labor, or members of persecuted groups like Uyghur minorities out of the Xinjiang region.

“Today’s additions demonstrate the United States’ unwavering commitment to eliminating forced labor, including by ensuring that goods made by forced labor are not imported into our country,” said US Trade Representative Katherine Tai in a statement.

The US government and lawmakers in a number of other Western countries have labeled China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority in the northwestern Xinjiang region “genocide” -- a charge Beijing vehemently denies.

Rights groups said at least one million people, mostly members of Muslim minorities, have been incarcerated in the region and face widespread abuses, including forced sterilization of women and coerced labor.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, secretary of homeland security Alejandro Mayorkas said: “We will continue to work with all of our partners to keep goods made with forced labor from Xinjiang out of US commerce while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade.”

The UFLPA, adopted by Congress with bipartisan support in 2021, bans the import of all goods from the Xinjiang region unless companies offer verifiable proof that production did not involve forced labor.

Apart from Tuesday’s additions to the entity list, two more China-based companies -- printer manufacturer Ninestar Corporation and chemical products firm Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co. -- were also added earlier this year.

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