A group of textile industry and trade associations in China have condemned the US’ ‘Xinjiang bill’ saying, it endangers the security of the global textile industry. The bill was signed by the US President Joe Biden this month as a part of the US initiative to curb forced labor. It aims to curb US funding amongst ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The law instructs the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under Section 3 of the Act to adopt a rebuttable presumption that goods mined, produced, or manufactured in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) or by certain entities are prohibited from being imported into the US.
Moreover, the bill instructs the government to guide importers on best practices/due diligence and on the type of evidence to demonstrate that goods are not made with forced labor. It also directs the government to develop a comprehensive enforcement strategy and a diplomatic strategy. However, the bill has been opposed by all leading Chinese textile industry and trade associations.
Suppresses domestic industry and violates WTO rules
The China Cotton Association says, the bill suppresses China's cotton textile industry in the name of human rights while the China National Textile and Apparel Council and 12 industry associations accuse it of setting a dangerous precedent to international economic and trade by presumption of guilt with regards to forced labor covering all Xinjiang products. It says, Xinjiang cotton is globally recognized as a high-quality natural raw material for fiber, and is vital to the sound and sustainable development of the Chinese and global textile industry. The US suppression of Xinjiang cotton and related products is bound to severely endanger the security of the global textile supply chain. The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles (CCCT) accuses the US of completely violating market principles and WTO rules. The bill severely harms the interests of both, the Chinese and the American textile and apparel companies and consumers and also
An important part of the global textile supply chain, Xinjiang cotton amounted to 5.13 million tons in 2021. It accounted for about 20 per cent of global cotton output, adds CCCT. However, since 2020, the US government has issued import bans on Xinjiang cotton restricting the import of cotton-related products from the region. This has damaged the reputation of the China’s cotton textile industry across the world.
A move doomed to fail
Through its crackdown, the US aims to curtail the development of new industries in Xinjiang, thus slowing its economic growth. However, such a move is doomed to fail, says Huo Jianguo, Vice Chairman, China Society for World Trade Organization Studies. The US imports of textiles and apparels from China grew 23.9 per cent year-on-year to $25.79 billion in the first ten months of 2021. This was a growth of 58.9 percentage points from the same period last year, accounting for 27.6 percent of the US' total textile and apparel imports during the same period, according to industry data.
Bill to aggravate US’ economic predicament
Thus, the suppression of imports from China by the US' will not only harm millions of cotton farmers and textile workers in Xinjiang, but also the interests of American textile and apparel consumers, retailers, distributors and importers, adds CCCT. The restrictions will end up harming American interest and aggravate its economic predicament, adds Jianguo.