“As part of its trade enforcement responsibilities, CBP will hold companies accountable for importing goods produced with forced labor,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade.
“Companies have a responsibility to proactively monitor their supply chains to mitigate the risk of importing goods into the United States that were produced with forced labor.”
Pure Circle imported stevia produced in China by Inner Mongolia Hengzheng Group Baoanzhao Agricultural and Trade LLC, according to CBP. CBP began investigating the imports after it was alerted by a nongovernmental organization to its alleged inhumane activities. Later, CBP issued a Withhold Release Order on those products.
CBP has issued eleven WROs since September 2019, four of which targeted products from China.
CBP’s investigation found that Pure Circle U.S.A., Inc. imported about 20 shipments of products “that were processed in China with prison labor.” A penalty was then issued against Pure Circle. However, the products had already made their way into the U.S. before CBP found evidence of forced labor.
Many of the seizures of Chinese forced labor goods have raised concerns about China’s human rights abuses against minority populations, including Uighurs, a Turkic-ethnic minority, they’ve imprisoned in “reeducation camps” and exploited for labor. Further, China has made many attempts to stop Uighur population growth by forcing women to have abortions and forcing sterilization.
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U.S. Commerce Department: Chinese firms are supplying Russian entities
On Tuesday, the United States Commerce Department said several companies in China are supplying Russia’s military. The announcement was made alongside a “new round of blacklist restrictions for foreign firms aiding Moscow’s war against Ukraine” reports National Review.
“These entities have previously supplied items to Russian entities of concern before February 24, 2022 and continue to contract to supply Russian entity listed and sanctioned parties after Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine,” stated an official Commerce Department notice posted to the Federal Register.
“Commerce also blacklisted several Chinese companies and Chinese government research institutes for their work on naval-technology and supplying Iran with U.S. tech in a way that harms America’s national security” adds National Review.
Six companies that are helping further the Russian invasion are also based in Lithuania, Russia, the U.K., Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
National Review reports:
The Commerce Department stopped short of blaming the Chinese government for the sanctions-evasion activity it identified today. Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo previously said that there doesn’t appear to be any “systemic efforts by China to go around our export controls.” The Biden administration has publicly and privately warned Beijing against supporting the Russian war, with White House officials even leaking to the press about an effort to present China’s ambassador in Washington with information about Russian troop movements ahead of the invasion.
While Beijing has not expressed outright support for the invasion, it has used its propaganda networks to back Moscow’s narrative. Meanwhile, top Chinese and Russian officials have moved to solidify the “no-limits” partnership they declared in early February. General secretary Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin held a call this month, marking the construction of a new bridge between their two countries, during which they reiterated their support for the burgeoning geopolitical alignment.
National-security adviser Jake Sullivan said last month that the U.S. has no indications that Beijing has provided Russia with military equipment. A Finnish think tank, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, estimated on June 12 that Chinese imports of Russian oil since the outset of the conflict have amounted to $13 billion, making China the biggest consumer of the country’s oil exports. Previously, it was Germany. “While Germany cut back on purchases since the start of the war, China’s oil and gas imports from Russia rose in February and remained at a roughly constant level since,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission noted.
Official advisor Anton Gerashchenko tweeted incredible video of Ukrainian soldiers sweeping through fields, writing “this is how our fields are de-mined so that farmers can harvest crops.” On Monday a Russian missile struck a mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, where over 1,000 civilians were inside.
“Almost two dozen people were still missing Tuesday one day after a Russian airstrike struck a Ukrainian shopping mall and killed 18 civilians inside…On top of the 18 dead and 21 people missing, Ukrainian Interior Minster Denis Monastyrsky said 59 were injured. Several of the dead were burned beyond recognition” reported the New York Post.
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) June 28, 2022
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