Lawmakers Call on CBP to Block Xinjiang Cotton Imports as NBA Season Kicks Off

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The chairmen of a apical U.S. legislature assemblage connected Oct. 20 demanded transparency from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) connected whether it has blocked imports from companies that person publically endorsed the usage of fabric from China’s Xinjiang region, citing forced labor concerns.

In a missive (pdf) to CBP Commissioner Troy Miller, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the chairmen of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission connected China (CECC), asked the national bureau to merchandise “detailed information” astir enforcement of the January 2021 Withhold Release Order (WRO) connected fabric imports from the region.

“We are peculiarly funny successful whether CBP has stopped imports from companies that person publically endorsed the usage of fabric from the XUAR and person advertised its usage successful their products,” the lawmakers, joined by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) wrote.

The brace cited the caller NBA season, which started connected Oct. 19, saying that they are successful peculiar acrophobic by “the continued availability of products from the Chinese sportswear companies Anta, Peak, and Li-Ning, which person high-profile endorsements from NBA players.”

The nationalist endorsement of the usage of fabric from the Xinjiang portion by these companies “warrants peculiar attraction from CBP, arsenic it raises circumstantial concerns astir the proviso chains of these companies,” they wrote.

The chairmen antecedently called connected NBA players to extremity endorsement deals with Chinese sportswear firms that are linked to forced labor, expressing interest implicit contracts that much than a twelve NBA players person signed with firms that see Anta, Li-Ning, and Peak. All of these companies person admitted to utilizing fabric produced successful Xinjiang.

“The NBA and NBA players should not adjacent implicitly beryllium endorsing specified horrific quality rights abuses,” the June 1 missive said, citing the CECC’s ain documentation that since 2018, determination has been credible grounds to amusement that forced labour exists successful Xinjiang’s fabric production.

Epoch Times Photo Farmers prime fabric successful the fields during the harvest play successful Hami, successful northwest China’s Xinjiang portion connected Sept. 20, 2015. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Merkley and McGovern said successful their press release connected Wednesday that the NBA has not responded to their June 1 letter. The NBA besides did not respond to a petition by The Epoch Times for remark connected the matter.

“We bash not privation sports stars oregon different personage influencers to knowingly oregon unwittingly endorse goods made with forced labour oregon for U.S. consumers to bargain these products, which stay disposable to acquisition done Amazon.com and different direct-to- user platforms online,” they wrote.

A report published past twelvemonth recovered that successful 2018, astatine slightest 570,000 Uyghurs were forced to prime fabric successful the Xinjiang region. CBP has banned each fabric and herb products from Xinjiang, and barred goods from respective Chinese manufactures implicit concerns of forced labor.

Meanwhile, unit has mounted connected Western manner brands to divest fabric from Xinjiang—the portion is estimated to proviso 20 percent of the world’s cotton.

“The effort to consistently enforce laws prohibiting imports made with forced labour is successful the economical interests of U.S. workers and consumers and the interests of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and different predominantly Muslim taste minorities successful China who look genocide and crimes against humanity,” the chairmen concluded.

The Epoch Times has reached retired to the CBP and the NBA for comment.

Cathy He contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen

Isabel van Brugen

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Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning writer and presently a quality newsman astatine The Epoch Times. She holds a master's successful paper journalism from City, University of London.