The administration of United States President Donald Trump raised the economic pressure on China’s western region of Xinjiang, banning cotton imports from a powerful Chinese quasi-military organisation that it says uses the forced labour of detained Uighur Muslims.
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said on Wednesday its “Withhold Release Order” would ban cotton and cotton products from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), one of China’s largest producers.
The move, which could have a sweeping effect on companies involved in selling textiles and apparel to the US, is among several the Trump administration has been working on in its final weeks to harden the US position against China, making it more difficult for President-elect Joe Biden to ease US-China tensions.
The targeting of XPCC, which produced 30 percent of China’s cotton in 2015, follows a Treasury Department ban in July on all dollar transactions with the sprawling business and paramilitary entity, founded in 1954 to settle China’s far west.
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