Thursday, April 25, 2024
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HomeOpinionLettersThousands of vehicles reportedly blocked at US border for forced labor components

Thousands of vehicles reportedly blocked at US border for forced labor components

Dear Sir

After US customs reportedly blocked thousands of Porsche, Bentley, and Audi vehicles made by Volkswagen Group for containing parts made with forced labor in Xinjiang, chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party wrote to Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume, urging Volkswagen to immediately comply with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) within its global supply chain. Separately, the lawmakers called on Volkswagen to cease operations in Xinjiang, China where it maintains a factory with a joint venture backed by the Chinese government.

In the letter, chairman Gallagher and Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi wrote, “We urge Volkswagen to cease its operations in Xinjiang, where the US government has determined that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is conducting an ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.”

Since 2013, Volkswagen has partnered SAIC Motor Corp. a People’s Republic of China state-owned entity, to construct and operate a factory in Xinjiang, the region where the Chinese government is waging genocide against Uyghur Muslims. Recent reporting indicates that the Xinjiang Volkswagen factory employed Uyghur forced laborers.

In light of the recent reports of vehicles containing parts made with prohibited forced labor, the lawmakers also wrote, “Volkswagen should not seek to brush off or minimize evidence of Uyghur forced labor within its supply chain when the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act explicitly bans the importation into the United States of any products, regardless of size, made in-whole or in-part with such forced labor.”

They also called for “Volkswagen [to] explain its operations in Xinjiang and what steps it is taking to comply with the UFLPA.”

Chairman Gallagher and ranking member Krishnamoorthi gave the Volkswagen CEO until March 5, 2024 to respond.

VW-Letter2.21.24.pdf

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Background

The US government under both President Trump and Biden have determined that the Chinese Communist Party is committing genocide against Uyghur people in Xinjiang, China – characterized by the sterilization of Uyghur women, detainment of millions in concentration camps, and relocation of thousands to forcibly labor in factories around China.

In 2013, Volkswagen entered a joint venture with a Chinese government state-owned entity to build a factory in Xinjiang. Recent reports allege that the Chinese government relocated Uyghurs to work as forced laborers at this Xinjiang factory, under the guise of ‘poverty alleviation campaigns.’

In 2021, Congress passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The legislation bans all imports from Xinjiang, unless importers can verify that products are not tainted by forced labor. The reports of US customs blocking Volkswagen vehicles for containing forced labor components indicate that Volkswagen must enhance its efforts to comply with the UFLPA.

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