Several Major U.S. Industry Associations Issue Statement Supporting Global Approach to Xinjiang

Several major trade associations representing U.S. apparel and retail sectors issued a joint statement Monday (March 22) welcoming a “global approach to protecting citizens in Xinjiang. The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada moved simultaneously on Monday to impose sanctions on several Chinese officials accused of violating the rights of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. The foreign ministers of the Five Eyes Coalition also issued two separate joint statements on the same day condemning the Chinese government for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, the National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association and the United States Fashion Industry Association said in a joint statement Monday that they expressed support for today’s announcement of global action to end the oppression of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, saying they have consistently called for such a holistic approach.

“Today’s statement recognizes that no one country or one approach can stop the persecution of Uighurs. All stakeholders must play an active role to end the ongoing genocide,” the guild organizations said in a joint statement.

The business community has been working to combat forced labor for the past two years, and the trade associations also said they will continue to work with the U.S. administration and Congress “to implement an effective and enforceable strategy to address forced labor in and related to Xinjiang,” the statement said.

The trade associations said they look forward to working with the U.S. Congress, the administration and their counterparts around the world to end the “tragedy” of Uighur repression.

The European Union, the United States, Britain and Canada have imposed sanctions on Chinese officials accused of violating Uighur human rights.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday announced sanctions against two Chinese officials – Wang Junzheng, deputy secretary of the Xinjiang Party Committee, and Chen Mingguo, head of the Xinjiang Public Security Department.

Britain joined the European Union on Monday in imposing sanctions on four Chinese officials and an entity believed to be involved in human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. Canada also announced sanctions against four Chinese officials.

The U.S. secretary of state, British foreign secretary and Canadian foreign minister, along with the foreign ministers of Australia and New Zealand, also issued separate joint statements on the same day condemning the Chinese government’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The U.S., British and Canadian statements said there is “overwhelming” evidence that the Chinese government is violating and abusing human rights in Xinjiang. The ANZ statement also said there was “clear evidence of serious human rights abuses” in Xinjiang.

Separately, U.S. Trade Representative David Deitch said Monday in a video conference with British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss that the two countries agreed to work together to address unfair trade practices, including forced labor, in non-market economies such as China.