House approves second bill aimed at forced labor in China

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the second time in two weeks, the House on Wednesday approved a bill aimed at cracking down on U.S. imports of goods made with the forced labor of detained ethnic minorities in China.

The bill would require publicly traded companies in the U.S. to disclose whether any of their goods — or any part of their supply chain — can be traced to internment camps or factories suspected of using forced labor of Muslim Uighurs or other ethnic minorities in China.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., was approved 253-163 and now goes to the Senate.


Its passage follows approval last week of a bill aimed at barring U.S. imports of goods produced in the vast Xinjiang region of northwestern China on the presumption that they were likely made with forced labor. That bill, authored by Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., was approved Sept. 22 on 406-3 vote.

If enacted into law, the two proposals could have significant ripple effects in global trade by forcing companies to avoid a region that produces 80% of the cotton in China, as well as tomatoes and manufactured goods.

Lawmakers say the measures are needed to press China to stop a campaign that has resulted in the detention of more than 1 million Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups under brutal conditions.

“If America does not speak out for human rights in China because of commercial interest, we lose all moral authority to speak about human rights anywhere in the world,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a floor speech last week.

Wexton, whose northern Virginia district is home to one of the largest Uighur communities in the U.S., said her bill would inform investors and markets about active exploitation occurring in one of the largest ongoing human rights violations in the world.

“For years, the government of the People’s Republic of China has been engaged in the mass internment of religious minorities in the Xinjiang region,” Wexton said. The camps supply materials for some of the largest companies in the world, “and some of these products are finding their way to U.S. consumers,” including cellphones and T-shirts, Wexton said.

While the U.S. has long banned imports made with forced labor, traditional human rights monitoring efforts are thwarted in tightly controlled regions such as in northwestern China, Wexton and other lawmakers said. Travel to the area is restricted. Auditors have been detained and threatened, and workers intimidated, they said.

Wexton’s bill directs the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to issue rules requiring publicly traded company to issue yearly reports disclosing imports that originate in or are sourced from Xinjiang, because of the strong likelihood they were made with forced labor.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes both House bills, arguing they would likely cause U.S. companies to cease doing business in Xinjiang altogether. That outcome would harm legitimate producers and manufacturers, because there is no effective way to inspect and audit suppliers in the region, the chamber said.

Read more

Ex-White House aide launches ads aimed at getting mothers to vote for Trump

The ad begins with a mother putting her child to bed and watching footage of riots on her cellphone before falling asleep herself and dreaming that Biden and a Democratic Congress have made massive cuts to police funding. Over footage of a protester smashing the window of a minivan with the mother and her child inside, a narrator warns: “They’ll defund police. They’ll disarm you. Don’t let this nightmare come true.”

The effort comes as Trump has seized on a law-and-order message to try to win back the suburban white women who abandoned Republicans in 2018. With national and several battleground state polls showing Trump trailing or tied with Biden, the president in recent weeks has sought to turn public safety into a top campaign issue as some protests against police brutality and racism have turned violent.

“Moms for Safe Neighborhoods came together because a group of concerned mothers saw Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Democrats calling for diverting money from the police and failing to condemn the violence as it entered neighborhoods across the country,” said Anderson, a mother of two. “They banded together to get their message out to moms everywhere, but also because they understand how critical suburban women are to President Trump’s re-election.”

The group’s “grassroots leadership board” has some heavy hitters of female Republicans, including Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America; Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots; GOP lawyer Cleta Mitchell; and former Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.). Three notable politicians’ wives are also on the board: Debbie Meadows, who’s married to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; Kristen Short, the wife of Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff; and Susan Allen, who’s married to former Virginia Gov. George Allen.

Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, is doing this in her personal time. She previously worked in the Trump White House as associate director for intergovernmental affairs and strategic initiatives at the Office of Management and Budget.

Source Article

Read more

House passes bill aimed at imports tied to Uyghur forced labor

A bill aimed at shining a light on corporations benefiting from the use of China’s forced labor camps, which have targeted Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region, passed the House in a 229-187 vote on Wednesday.



a group of people looking at a laptop: House passes bill aimed at imports tied to Uyghur forced labor


© Getty Images
House passes bill aimed at imports tied to Uyghur forced labor

The Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act of 2020 – spearheaded by Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) – would require companies that are publicly traded in the United States and do business within the region to disclose information on their supply chains, including whether their products could be made by forced labor.

Loading...

Load Error

Proponents of the legislation argue it is a step in the right direction in taking a stand against human rights abuses in the region.

“This legislation is essential to protect American investors and consumers through stronger disclosure requirements alerting them to Chinese and international companies whose operations enable the mass internment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said during debate.

“It represents a clear and material risk to shared values and the corporate reputations of these companies and US investors and consumers,” McGovern added.

Critics argued that while they agree the United States needs to take action to crackdown on human rights violations, certain provisions in the bill that could place unnecessary regulatory burdens on companies. Republicans also took aim at Democrats for not having the bill go through the committee process.

“While the bill takes strong action to ensure American businesses are not complicit in China’s forced labor programs, there are outstanding concerns in the bill that may harm U.S. businesses. For instance, the bill requires public companies to file disclosures with the SEC if they imported manufactured goods or other materials that originated in or are sourced in the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region and disclose whether those goods originated in forced labor camps,” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) said on the floor ahead of the vote.

“These entities would also have to disclose the nature and extent of the commercial activity related to each good or material, the gross revenue, and net profits attributable, and whether they intend to continue importing the goods. China’s atrocities against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups must come to an end and we voted on that bill yesterday in a bipartisan fashion.”

The bill was brought to the floor as Republicans have repeatedly slammed Democrats over not being hard enough on China, making it a key component of their campaign strategy.

Video: U.S. House passes stopgap funding bill to avoid government shutdown (Reuters)

U.S. House passes stopgap funding bill to avoid government shutdown

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

Continue Reading

Source Article

Read more