The Senate Finance Committee is examining U.S. and foreign auto manufacturers and suppliers for links to forced labor practices in China’s Xinjiang region. Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are said to be coerced into factory work.
Under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act passed by Congress in 2022, the U.S. cannot import goods made in Xinjiang unless importers prove they are not made using forced labor.
Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the chamber’s Finance Committee, communicated with automakers and suppliers last week regarding the investigation so that automakers dependent on direct suppliers will ensure that their supply chains are free from forced labor.
There are serious questions as to whether the companies can ensure their sub-suppliers in China do not rely on forced labor, given the complexity of the supply chain.
Letters regarding oversight of Chinese supply chains went to Ford, Honda, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Tesla, Volkswagen, and numerous major auto supply companies. The companies have until April 11 to reply.
Beijing officially denies allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang and says its labor programs are poverty alleviation measures aimed at helping ethnic minorities. Washington argues that China is committing acts of genocide against the Uyghur people, including forced sterilization of women, forced labor, torture, and the arbitrary detention of more than 1 million Uyghurs and other religious minorities in state-run internment camps and prisons.