Britain could follow Washington's lead and ban Chinese imports from Xinjiang with ties to slave labour. A report by Politco states that this possible move was suggested by Britain's Trade Minister, Penny Mordaunt in response to a question by Politico.
Earlier this month, a bill was passed by the US Congress that bans goods manufactured completely or partially in Xinjiang, unless and until the companies can convincingly prove with evidence that no forced labour has been used whilst manufacturing.
The suggestion by British Trade Minister came amidst a time when several Conservative MPs have been nudging the British government to follow Washington DC and ratchet up the pressure on Beijing over its human rights violations in Xinjiang.
A year earlier Britain had imposed fines for big firms that fail to show their products haven't been manufactured by forced labour. However these move was criticised for not being strong enough.
In the wake of the US bill banning Chinese imports with links to Xinjiang, Mordaunt informed Politico that things are being reviewed in Britain. She added that “I think there are some new moves afoot in that space, and it’s something I know that [the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office] are looking very, very carefully at.”
According to the report, many Tory MPs want a similar legislation in Britain. Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, said that Britain "shouldn’t be buying goods from Xinjiang made with slave labor, I look forward to hearing more in the new year on the government’s progress in reviewing imports and exports to Xinjiang".
Another MP, Nusrat Ghani said that in her view it was embarrassing that America's supply chain was cleaner that Britain's. Ghani added that China had committed a genocide in Xinjiang. She pointed to the UK based Uyghur tribunal's findings to substantiate her claim and added that this should embolden the government's resolve.
Ghani said that Britain must follow America's move because the atrocities in Xinjiang link straight back to Britain when Britons consume goods manufactured in Xinjiang.
China Hawk Bob Seely echoed these views. The report quotes him as saying that import bans must not be viewed as a sign of aggression "but recognising the threat and the world as it is — not the world as we want it to be".
Tugendhat, Ghani and other MPs such as Iain Duncan Smith, Tim Loughton have been sanctioned by China for their stance and criticism of Beijing's polices in Xinjiang.
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