Member Search

Businesses Encouraged to Exit Supply Chains Connected to China’s Xinjiang Region

Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The US  government  is  intensifying  its  efforts  to  persuade  businesses to  exit  supply chains  connected  to  China’s  Xinjiang Uyghur  Autonomous  Region in  light  of  increasing  concerns about  the  use  of  forced labour  in  that  area.  Broader and  stronger  warnings about  doing  business in  the  XUAR,  particularly  in  specified  industries, are  included  in  an  updated business  advisory  issued July  13th.

For more  information  on  how  this  business  advisory could  apply  to  your  clients, please  contact  TLN  Member  Charles “Chuck”  Crowley  at  +1  (212)  549-0134  or

The advisory  warns  businesses, individuals  and  others (including  investors,  consultants, labour  brokers,  academic institutions  and  research service  providers)  that  do  not exit  supply  chains, ventures  and/or  investments connected  to  Xinjiang that  they  could run  a  high risk  of  violating US  law  and  triggering  criminal or  civil  enforcement actions.  Potential  legal  risks  include violation  of  statutes criminalising  forced  labour (e.g.,  knowingly  benefitting from  participation  in  a  venture while  knowing  it  has  engaged in  forced  labour), sanctions  violations  if  dealing  with  designated  persons, export  control  violations, and  violations  of  the  prohibition on  imports  of  goods  produced in  whole  or  in  part  with  forced or  convict  labour.

As a  result,  the  advisory  urges  businesses  and  individuals  to  undertake  heightened human  rights  due  diligence  to  identify  potential supply  chain  links  to  entities operating  in  Xinjiang, linked  to  Xinjiang (e.g.,  through  supply chain  inputs),  or utilising  Uyghur  or  other  ethnic and  Muslim  minority labourers  from  Xinjiang. Supply  chain  exposure could  come  from  sourcing  labour or  goods  from  Xinjiang  or  from  entities (1)  elsewhere  in  China  connected to  the  use  of  forced labour  of  individuals from  Xinjiang  or  (2)  outside of  China  that  source  inputs from  Xinjiang.  The  advisory  newly  adds  that  exposure  could  also  come  from  supplying US-origin  commodities,  software and  technology  to  entities  engaged in  surveillance  and  forced  labour practices.

The advisory  identifies  the  following  industries as  being  at  particular risk concerning  the  use  of  forced labour  in  Xinjiang:

  • agriculture  (including  raw  cotton,  hami  melons,  korla  pears,  tomato  products  and  garlic);
  • cell  phones;
  • cleaning  supplies;
  • construction;
  • cotton,  cotton  yarn,  cotton  fabric,  ginning,  spinning  mills  and  cotton  products;
  • electronics  assembly;
  • extractives  (including  coal,  copper,  hydrocarbons,  oil,  uranium  and  zinc);
  • fake  hair  and  human  hair  wigs,  hair  accessories;
  • food-processing  factories;
  • footwear;
  • gloves*;
  • hospitality  services;
  • metallurgical  grade  silicon*;
  • noodles;
  • printing  products;
  • renewable  energy  (polysilicon,  ingots,  wafers,  crystalline  silicon  solar  cells  and  photovoltaic  modules)*;
  • stevia;
  • sugar;
  • textiles  (including  apparel,  bedding,  carpets,  wool  and  *viscose);
  • toys.

*newly  added  since  last  advisory

However,  the  advisory  notes  that  this  list  is  non-exhaustive  and  does  not  confirm  that  all  goods  produced  in  these  industries in  Xinjiang  involve forced  labour.

The advisory  adds  that  raw  and  refined  materials, commodities,  intermediate  goods, byproducts  and  recycled materials  may  all  have  connections to  forced  labour and  human  rights violations  in  Xinjiang, regardless  of  the  final  product and  region  of  origin  or  export.

The updated  advisory  adds  a  number of  warnings  signs  of  forced labour  in  the  operating  environment in  Xinjiang.  These  include  the  involvement  of  (1)  affiliates of  Xinjiang  Production and  Construction  Corps, which  are  part  of  the  prison  labour system  and  manufacture goods  beyond  cotton products,  (2)  goods  included  on  the  Department of  Labor’s  list  of  goods  produced  by  forced  or  child  labour, (3)  companies  on  the  Department of  Commerce’s  Entity List,  and  (4)  companies  and products  subject  to  US  withhold release  orders.

Sandler,  Travis &  Rosenberg  offers a  comprehensive  suite  of  services to  help  companies address  forced  labour concerns,  including  supply chain  reviews,  due diligence  strategies  and  proactive  remediation. In  addition,  ST&R has  launched  a  new  web page  (  offering  a  broad  range  of  information on  forced-labour-related  efforts in  the  US  and  around the  world.  ST&R also  has  an  on-demand  webinar  (  on  forced labour  and  supply chain  transparency  available online.

Charles L. Crowley
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
New York, USA
Practice Area:
International Trade
Phone Number:
CHARLES CROWLEY is a member of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., resident in the New York office. As a nationally-recognized authority on international trade and business law, Mr. Crowley has substantial experience leading and directing global trade and customs practices. He concentrates his practice on assisting multinational corporations with a wide variety of customs and international trade activities, including international supply chain security and management, intellectual property rights, import/export process management, antidumping and countervailing duty matters, unfair trade actions and anti-corruption compliance. In addition, Mr. Crowley provides counsel to clients on customs issues such as first sale and other valuation matters, duty refunds and tax/tariff reductions, foreign-trade zones and customs audits. He also advises clients on penalty matters and brings considerable insight to these issues as a former attorney with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Regulations and Rulings and as a licensed U.S. Customs Broker in good standing since 1999.

Member Introduction

The Lawyer Network in numbers


Members Firms




Practice Areas


Member Firms
Total Staff