The Bangladesh Garments Buying Association’s had advised its members to exercise caution while importing fabrics from China for making readymade garments in the light of US enforcing its Uighur Forced Labour Prevention Act law framed in December 2021.
Days following Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) industry association in alerting its members to the risks associated with import of cotton from China, the Chinese ambassador in Dhaka has come out to allay fears.
The RMG industry association’s alert followed a US think tank study revealing the use of forced labour in the Xinjiang province from where cotton is sourced by many leading textile manufacturers in Bangladesh, as elsewhere in SouthAsia.
The RMG alert was based on the Bangladesh Garments Buying Association’s (BGBA) advising its members to remain cautious while importing fabrics from China for making readymade garments in the light of US enforcing its Uighur Forced Labour Prevention Act (UFLPA) passed in December last year.
The US Customs and Border Police (CBP) too issued a list of entities from Xinjiang using forced labour which included textile companies as well. The CBP rule also applies to goods made in, or shipped through, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and other countries that include inputs made in Xinjiang.
US trying to defame Beijing
The ambassador too referred to this alert, saying that it followed a meeting between the association and two representatives of the ‘Indo-Pacific Opportunity Project’ affiliated to the US.
In a Facebook post, the Chinese ambassador in Dhaka, Li Jiming, denied the uses ‘forced labour’ in the cotton fields of Xinjiang province as alleged by the US. But, mindful of the Islamic nation’s feelings for Uighurs in Xinjiang, the Chinese ambassador did not mention about the Uighur population involved in cotton production.
Ambassador Li Jiming said that reports of the existence of forced labour in Xinjiang was a lie and said that the US is trying defame Beijing and to make Xinjiang break away from the International Industrial Chain with the ultimate goal of containing China.
He advised the RMG sector to be cautious, waring that the boycott of Chinese cotton would hurt Bangladesh’s RMG industry.
Image: World Bank