Over allegations that western China's Xinjiang region is practising forced labour, US Customs and Border Protection officials are preparing orders to ban imports of cotton and tomato products coming from the region. However a formal announcement on the same has been delayed, according to a news report by Reuters.
The Trump administration announcement of the actions, initially expected on Tuesday, has been put off until later this week because of "scheduling issues," a CBP spokesman said.
This ban comes at the time, when the relations between both countries— the US and China— is already stressed.
The "Withhold Release Orders" allow the CBP to detain shipments based on suspicion of forced-labour involvement. According to US laws, CBP can take this decision to tackle human trafficking, child labour and other human rights violations.
There have been reports that stated 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in the region, where they are forced to work. Several reports have surfaced in the past on the way Xinjiang's Uighur Muslims have been treated by the Chinese authorities. While Chinese have called it a move to counter terrorist activities in the region, the other countries and media reports have suggested it is a violation of human rights. China has claimed that the camps are vocational training centers needed to fight extremism.
CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith told Reuters that the effective import bans would apply to the entire supply chains involving cotton, including cotton yarn, textiles and apparel, as well as tomatoes, tomato paste and other products exported from the region.
This ban could impact retailers and apparel producers, as well as food manufacturers in the US. China produces about 20 per cent of the world's cotton and most of it comes from Xinjiang. China also is the world's largest importer of cotton, including from the United States.
This ban will have limited impact on the Chinese companies, stated a Beijing-based trader. This is mainly because the country has a huge domestic market as well which is why it already imports cotton to meet its demand.