“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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Biden to lift sanctions on China in exchange for third promise to combat fentanyl
Reportedly President Joe Biden is making deals with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help improve anti-drug trafficking measures. China is one of the top fentanyl producers and distributors, culminating in a pandemic of fentanyl overdoses and deaths in the United States.
The Biden administration will be lifting sanctions on a Chinese government ministry, in exchange for bolstering anti-drug trafficking measures, Bloomberg reported. “We’re hoping to see some progress on that issue this coming week,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday, according to the New York Post. “That could then open the door to further cooperation on other issues where we aren’t just managing things, but we’re actually delivering tangible results.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation noted that should a deal materialize, it will be at least the third time that China has promised to get tough on fentanyl. In 2016, China agreed to increase counter-narcotics operations, and Xi again agreed to launch a crackdown in 2018. Nonetheless, China and Mexico are “the primary source countries for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the United States,” according to a 2020 DEA intelligence report.
“China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations environment, as well as the main source for all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.”
President Joe Biden and Xi are meeting for the first time in over a year during this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco. Sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will crack down on Chinese companies manufacturing chemical precursors for fentanyl in exchange for the U.S. lifting sanctions on the Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science, which the Commerce Department added to the Entity List in 2020 for “engaging in human rights violations and abuses” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
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