By JOE McDONALD, AP Enterprise Author
BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday demanded Washington drop a ban on cotton and tomato imports from its Muslim northwest over complaints they’re produced by pressured labor, which a spokesman dismissed because the “lie of the century.”
The ban introduced Wednesday provides to a flurry of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration towards Chinese language officers, corporations and items over human rights, safety and different complaints.
Its industrial impression is unclear, however Beijing is delicate to criticism in regards to the Xinjiang area, the place greater than 1 million Uighurs and different Muslim minorities have been confined in detention camps. Beijing denies mistreating them and says it’s making an attempt to advertise financial improvement and stamp out radicalism.
“The so-called pressured labor difficulty is a ‘lie of the century’ fabricated out of skinny air,” mentioned a international ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian. He accused america of wanting to harm Chinese language corporations and the nation’s improvement.
“We urge the U.S. aspect to respect information, instantly withdraw its incorrect choice and cease interfering in China’s inside affairs beneath the pretext of Xinjiang-related points,” Zhao mentioned.
Zhao mentioned Beijing would “safeguard its pursuits and dignity” however gave no indication of attainable retaliation. The federal government has made comparable statements following earlier U.S. sanctions however took no motion.
Xinjiang is a serious cotton provider to clothes producers in China in addition to Bangladesh, Vietnam and different nations. That makes the U.S. ban a possible problem for retailers or clothes manufacturers that can be required to make sure their merchandise are freed from Xinjiang cotton.
Zhao warned the ban would disrupt such international provide chains.
“It’s detrimental to the pursuits of enterprises and customers of all nations, together with america itself,” he mentioned.
Xinjiang is also a serious provider of tomato paste to international meals manufacturers, however its fundamental markets are Europe and the Center East.
The US imported about $9 billion price of cotton items immediately from China final 12 months, in accordance with the U.S. authorities.
Earlier, Washington imposed a ban in December on imports from an organization that controls about one-third of Xinjiang cotton manufacturing. The federal government mentioned it has stopped shipments price about $2 million. Canada and Britain even have introduced plans to dam imports of products produced by pressured labor.
The Trump administration has blocked imports from particular person corporations linked to pressured labor in Xinjiang. It has imposed journey bans and different sanctions on Communist Occasion officers with outstanding roles within the marketing campaign.
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