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Forced Labor. The House of Representatives approved Sept. 22 by a 406-3 vote the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (H.R. 6210), which would deem all goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as made with convict, forced, or indentured labor, and thus not entitled to entry into the U.S., unless U.S. Customs and Border Protection determines “by clear and convincing evidence” that they are not.
This bill would also require the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force established under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act to submit to Congress a report containing an enforcement strategy to effectively address forced labor in the XUAR, including specific enforcement plans regarding (1) goods imported directly from the XUAR, (2) goods imported from elsewhere in China that are made in the XUAR, and (3) goods imported from third countries that are made in the XUAR.
Further, the president would be required to submit to Congress at least semiannually a list of foreign entities and individuals knowingly facilitating (1) the forced labor of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in the XUAR and (2) efforts to contravene U.S. laws regarding the importation of forced labor goods from the XUAR. The president would be required to impose property-blocking sanctions on the listed individuals and entities and visa-blocking sanctions on the listed individuals.
Finally, securities issuers required to file annual or quarterly reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission would be required to disclose in such reports certain information related to the XUAR, including instances where the issuer knowingly (1) engaged in activities with an entity helping to create mass surveillance systems in that region, (2) engaged in activities with an entity running or building detention facilities for Muslim minority groups in that region, or (3) acquired a significant amount of textiles produced in that region. After being notified of such a disclosure the president would determine whether to investigate if sanctions or criminal charges are warranted.
CBTPA. The House unanimously approved Sept. 22 legislation to reauthorize through Sept. 30, 2030, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, which allows for the duty- and quota-free import of apparel products made with U.S. yarns, fabrics, and threads from Caribbean countries. Eligible CBTPA countries include Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
PPE. The Make PPE in America Act (H.R. 8324, introduced Sept. 21 by Reps. Budd, R-N.C., and Schakowsky, D-Ill.) would require the Defense Logistics Agency to issue longer-term contracts to make personal protective equipment in the U.S. The National Council of Textile Organizations said this bill would establish a provision to ensure that the U.S. textile industry has the ability to bid on and secure such contracts.
Arms Exports. The Safeguarding Human Rights in Arms Exports Act (S. 4712, introduced Sept. 24 by Sen. Menendez, D-N.J.) would restrict U.S. arms sales to human rights abusers by, among other things: (1) elevating the protection of human rights in the control and export of defense articles and defense services as an official U.S. policy, (2) codifying a requirement that the provision of such articles and services will not present a significant risk of violating international humanitarian law or internationally recognized human rights, (3) prohibiting arms sales to countries committing genocide or war crimes, (4) increasing congressional oversight over any sale or provision of arms and defense services to any country subjected to a coup or that violated specific human rights, and (5) strengthening the requirement for the State Department to consider a country’s entire human rights record.
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