Stephen Lamar, head of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), told a session of the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade on Thursday that import bans on products from China’s Xinjiang province could “wreak havoc” on supply chains.
A 2019 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) called Connecting the Dots in Xinjiang: Forced Labor, Forced Assimilation, and Western Supply Chains noted that some 30 percent of American apparel imports come from China and, since 80 percent of China’s cotton comes from Xinjiang, a deeply troubling amount of the apparel sold to American consumers is tainted by forced labor.
In July, over 200 activist groups joined together to urge major apparel manufacturers and retailers to stop sourcing cotton, textiles, and clothing from Xinjiang.
“It is clear and irrefutable that China is committing large scale human rights abuses, including forced labor, against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.
Sweden’s huge H&M fashion company made a splash on Tuesday by announcing it would end its relationship with Chinese yarn supplier Huafu — the same supplier Target Australia stopped doing business with — due to concerns over slavery.