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Chairmen Green, McCaul, Foxx, Gallagher Press Mayorkas on Implementation of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

September 29, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN), House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing concern on the implementation process and enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). Signed into law on December 23, 2021, the UFLPA was created to prevent the importation of goods into the United States manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor in Communist China, especially from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

In the letter, the Chairmen state, “[W]e are concerned that since the UFLPA was signed into law the Administration has not issued any sanctions using the authorities under that act. Additionally, the Administration has not designated any parties in violation of the UFLPA. While we understand the process to identify and impose these actions requires due diligence, the amount of time passed without any action raises serious questions about the Administration’s efforts to implement the law dutifully.”

The Chairmen continue, “While we are pleased with some aspects of the Administration’s implementation, we have strong concerns about others. Accordingly, we are writing to you—as the chair of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF)—to express our concerns and to seek information to address these issues. … [W]e are concerned with the FLETF’s decision to grant the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) the critical role of monitoring forced labor in the PRC. When Congress wrote the UFLPA, it had an altogether different concept for implementing its monitoring provisions. ILAB does not and should not be expected to have the intelligence capabilities necessary to implement the UFLPA. It is our understanding that ILAB employs an insufficient number of cleared personnel and that it relies on open-source tools such as Google translate. While ILAB has a background in monitoring unfair labor laws globally, identifying instances of forced labor amid an ongoing genocide by the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang is drastically different.”

The Chairmen conclude, “Lastly, we are concerned by the sluggish pace at which the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has made updates to its Entity List. We understand that the process to identify and impose these actions also requires due diligence. However, BIS has a disappointing track record of deficient actions, which raises further questions about its ability to implement the UFLPA appropriately.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.