The White House said on Tuesday that President Biden welcomed an agreement between the House and Senate on a bill that would ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region, signaling that he will sign the legislation once it reaches his desk.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would create a presumption that all goods made in Xinjiang are produced with forced labor, an accusation Beijing denies. The House and Senate had earlier passed versions that were slightly different and agreed on a final version Tuesday.
The only way US companies could continue importing goods from Xinjiang is if they can provide “clear and convincing evidence” that their supply chain is free of goods made by forced labor. The bill would also target Chinese officials with sanctions who the US deems responsible for alleged human rights violations.
The House passed the new version of the bill on Tuesday, and the Senate could vote on the legislation as soon as Wednesday. Once signed into law, the import ban must be implemented within 180 days.
The legislation would be a major hit to the industry in Xinjiang and will impact many US corporations that do business in the region. US business groups and companies, including Nike and Coca-Cola, tried and failed to lobby Congress to weaken the bill.
In a statement to The New York Times, Coca-Cola said it “strictly prohibits any type of forced labor in our supply chain” and uses third-party auditors to monitor its suppliers.
The reports implicating US companies as beneficiaries of forced labor in Xinjiang come from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank whose funders include the Pentagon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.