The U.S. government announced Wednesday that it will halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from the Xinjiang region of China in its most sweeping action yet to pressure the Communist Party to stop a forced labor campaign against Uighur minorities.
Officials said Customs and Border Protection will use its authority to block products suspected of being produced with forced labor in the northwest Chinese region.
Xinjiang is a major global supplier of cotton, so the order could have significant effects on global commerce.
The Trump administration has already blocked imports from individual companies linked to forced labor in the region.
China has imprisoned more than 1 million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, in a vast network of concentration camps.
People have been subjected to torture, brutal conditions, forced sterilization and abortion and political indoctrination as part of an assimilation campaign.
China denies allegations of rights abuses and forced labor, saying it aims only to raise incomes among minorities and stamp out radicalism.
The U.S. action is the latest, and most sweeping, attempt to pressure China to end the campaign.
Canada and Britain both recently said they too would take steps to stop goods made with forced labor from entering their countries.
Customs and Border Protection has in the past targeted entire regions with import bans, including issuing an order against cotton from Turkmenistan in 2018 and gold from mines in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2019.
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