U.S. Blocks Imports of Uniqlo Shirts over Uighur Concerns

Politics

Washington, May 19 (Jiji Press)--The U.S. government has blocked shipments of shirts from the Uniqlo brand operated by Japan's Fast Retailing Co. <9983> for violating a U.S. import ban linked to suspected forced labor in China's Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, it was learned Wednesday.

The Customs and Border Protection confiscated the shirts at the Port of Los Angeles on Jan. 5 due to a suspicion that Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a major producer of Uighur cotton under the wing of the Communist Party of China, was involved in the production of materials used in the Uniqlo clothing, according to a CBP document dated May 10.

The incident, which took place while U.S. President Donald Trump was still in office, highlights Washington's tough stance of regarding human rights abuse against Uighurs as a genocide, pundits said. Over the issue of forced labor, the Trump administration last December banned imports of cotton products linked to XPCC.

In March this year, Uniqlo Co., a unit of Fast retailing, took procedures to prove that the materials used in the shirts in question had nothing to do with China or XPCC. The CBP, however, rejected the claim due to a lack of supporting evidence.

In the document, the CBP said, "No cotton yarn production/processing/procedures records reflecting actual cotton yarn production were submitted." The document also said that the certificate submitted by Uniqlo did not show "the specific products produced, the parties involved, the dates of transaction, or location of the factory."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press