President Joe Biden signed a law virtually banning all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang in response to concerns over forced labor, as US companies find themselves caught in the diplomatic fray, writes France24.
The bill, which was approved by Congress last week, bans the import of all goods from the region unless companies offer verifiable proof that production did not involve forced labor.
The Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act sets its sights on three products in particular: cotton, of which Xinjiang is one of the world’s major producers; tomatoes; and polysilicon, a material used to produce solar panels.
In a rare bipartisan move, the Senate last week unanimously voted to make the United States the first country to ban virtually all imports from the region.
The vote came despite lobbying by US firms, many of which are heavily dependent on Chinese suppliers and already facing massive disruption due to trade disturbances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.