The US Congress has enacted legislation requiring businesses to demonstrate that commodities imported from China’s Xinjiang province were not made using forced labor.
In its suppression of the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority in China, the US has accused China of genocide, an accusation China has frequently denied.
Major corporations that conduct business in the region, such as Coca-Cola, Nike, and Apple, have criticized the measure.
Its passage also overcame the White House’s initial opposition.
It was adopted by the Senate on Thursday, with the exception of one member, by a vote of every member of Congress.
The bill, properly called as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, is now on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk to be put into law.
The White House has avoided taking a position on the bill for months, but press secretary Jen Psaki stated earlier this week that Vice President Biden would sign it.
In China’s resource-rich western region, the US accuses China of using slavery and genocide. US and global enterprises, who are already experiencing supply chain challenges, pushed against it, citing concerns about how it will damage their businesses.
“Many businesses have already started cleaning up their supply networks. And, to be honest, people should be bothered about this law “After the measure cleared the upper chamber of Congress, Florida Senator Marco Rubio stated.
“Those who haven’t done so will no longer be able to make Americans – each and every one of us, to be honest – unknowing collaborators in the horrors and genocide.”
After earlier drafts of the bill cleared the House and Senate, lawmakers in both houses reached an agreement on the final wording this week.
The bill also lifts a Republican embargo that has blocked Mr. Biden’s nominee for ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, from receiving Senate confirmation.
The US Commerce Department issued penalties on over 30 Chinese technology businesses and research institutions earlier on Thursday, accusing them of assisting the Chinese military.
Without a special license, American corporations are prohibited from selling goods to sanctioned organizations and entities under the new law.
The CIA also charged China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences with exploiting biotechnology “to serve Chinese military end uses,” such as “alleged brain-control weaponry.”
In a statement, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo claimed that China “is choosing to employ these technologies to pursue control over its people and its mistreatment of members of ethnic and religious minority groups.”
On Thursday, the US Treasury Department unveiled an investment blacklist of eight Chinese businesses accused of biometric monitoring and tracking of Uyghurs, including DJI, the world’s largest producer of tiny drones popular among hobbyists.
“By overstretching the concept of national security, certain US politicians politicize and instrumentalise science and technology, economic and trade issues based on ideology,” Beijing foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a briefing on Wednesday when asked about the possibility of new US sanctions.
“This is incompatible with the principles of the free market and fair competition. It will only jeopardize and jeopardize the global industrial and supply networks’ security, as well as international trade norms.”
The steps come amid escalating tensions between China and a number of countries, mostly in the West.
In protest of suspected Chinese human rights violations, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and Canada have stated that they would not send ambassadors to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which will be held in February 2022.