US blocks Uniqlo shirts over Xinjiang labor issue
Written by tokyoclub on May 21, 2021
US customs authorities have blocked a shipment of Uniqlo shirts, saying the Japanese clothing giant violated an import ban on cotton products from China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
US Customs and Border Protection announced earlier this month that the Port of Los Angeles had “detained a shipment of cotton garments imported by Uniqlo” in January.
Washington has banned the import of such products from Xinjiang since last December, citing suspicions of forced labor.
Uniqlo filed a protest, saying it buys raw materials for the shirts from Australia among other places, and not China.
But the US rejected the response, saying the evidence presented was insufficient.
The Biden administration has been critical of what it calls human rights violations in Xinjiang. It has been urging companies to take their business elsewhere.
Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing says it is firmly opposed to any form of forced labor, and considers human rights a top priority. But it adds that it has found no problems with its supply chain.
China is adamant there is no forced labor in Xinjiang. At a news conference on Wednesday, a Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said these claims amount to “bullying” by the US.