March 12, 2020

Young, Rubio Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Group Introducing Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were joined by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D- Ill.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in introducing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. This bipartisan and bicameral bill will ensure that goods made in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) imported into the United States are not made with forced labor. Last year, Rubio co-chaired a hearing to highlight the ongoing forced labor, mass internment, and social control of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). 

“It is time for the world – both governments and industry – to stand up for those oppressed in Xinjiang, China. Uyghur Muslims are already suffering in forced re-education camps – modern day concentration camps – and now the Chinese government and western companies are taking advantage of them by exploiting forced labor practices,” said Senator Young. “It is unconscionable that companies would benefit from modern day slavery. These human rights atrocities must stop and I am glad to work with my bipartisan colleagues to shine a light on these abuses.”   


“For far too long the Chinese Communist party has gotten away with the systematic use of forced labor by Uyghur Muslims and other Turkic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang,” said Senator Rubio. “While the U.S. Government should take all precautionary measures to ensure that goods made in the XUAR don’t enter our market, companies have a moral duty and responsibility to prove that their sourced products have been produced without forced labor.” 

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act:

·        Requires corporations to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that any products imported into the United States and sourced from Xinjiang are not made with forced labor.

·        Requires a determination from the Secretary of State whether forced labor carried out in the XUAR is “widespread and systematic and therefore constitutes atrocities.” The determination is due 90 days after enactment and submitted with the strategy in section 6.

·        Requires the Secretary of State to submit to Congress a strategy report detailing U.S. government efforts to enhance international awareness of and to address the forced labor situation in the XUAR.

·        Requires a list of Chinese entities or their affiliates that use the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities.

·        Requires a list of products made by forced labor in the XUAR and a list of businesses that sold such products in the United States.

·        Except in limited circumstances to advance U.S. treaty obligations or national interests, the President shall identify and designate for visa or financial sanctions any foreign person who “knowingly engages” in the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the XUAR and any foreign person who knowingly engage in efforts to “contravene United States law regarding the importation of forced labor goods from the XUAR.”

·        Requires a Presidential determination “whether reasonable grounds exist, and an explanation if concluded that no reasonable ground exists for issuing a “Withhold Release Order” pursuant to section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 on six Chinese companies operating in the XUAR.

Rubio is Co-Chair of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) as well as the Chairman of the SFRC Subcommittee that oversees human rights.