The Department of Homeland Security, under the orders of the Trump administration, continues to deepen the blockade of imports of products from slave labor camps around the world, mainly from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the area of Xinjiang, where centers of exploitation of the Uighur Muslim minority abound.

The Customs and Border Protection Office has been taking strong measures against products made with forced labor. In recent months, it has made several major seizures of containers from the Xinjiang. 

Recently, it was revealed that the Trump administration would block imports of cotton and tomato products from the same western region of China, precisely because of serious complaints about forced labor. An announcement by the Trump administration, initially expected on Tuesday, was postponed until later this week due to “scheduling problems,” Reuters reported.

While the scope of the bans on cotton imports is still unclear, they would be an unprecedented move that could dramatically change the textile industry even on a global scale, likely leading to increased tension between the world’s two largest economies.

U.S. federal law prohibits the import of goods that are derived, manufactured, or produced, in whole or in part, from the labor of convicts, child labor, or forced labor. The Trump administration is developing a strong policy of import controls through this legislation. 

As the Washington Examiner recalled in a recent report, in October of last year the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had already announced that five products from five countries would no longer be allowed as imports into the United States.

The banned items include clothing produced in Xinjiang, disposable rubber gloves made in Malaysia, gold mined in small artisanal mines in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, rough diamonds from the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe, and black coal mined in Brazil. All items were manufactured, mined, or produced by people forced to work.

In May 2020, the CBP issued a ban on all imports by Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co. from Xinjiang. Then, in June, CBP officials at the Port of New York intercepted a shipment from Xinjiang containing 13 tons of human hair extensions and products suspected of being made by children, prisoners, or forced laborers. The government imposed a ban on all products from the Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co.

More recently, as reported by Bloomberg, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued an import restriction order, used to combat forced labor in global supply chains, against the Hero Vast Group for using “convict labor and forced labor to produce the garments.