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Textiles Intelligence

Imports of cotton textiles and apparel from Xinjiang face sanctions

In this editorial, Robin Anson examines the findings of an in-depth report entitled ‘China's 'tainted' cotton’ which was published by the BBC in December 2020.

2nd February 2021

Knitting Industry
 |  United Kingdom

Knitted Outerwear, Intimate Apparel

Report summary

Cotton products imported from China's north-western province of Xinjian, including textiles and apparel, are threatened by growing international opposition to China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in the region.

Such is the seriousness of the situation that the USA imposed a regional ban on imports of all cotton products and tomatoes from Xinjiang in January 2021. There have also been calls for action against China in other countries. In mid-January 2021 the UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, described conditions under which over a million Uyghur Muslims are being held in camps and forced into work as being "inhumane" and "degrading" and he set out measures designed to ensure that UK companies do not allow products made using forced labour in Xinjiang province to enter their supply chains.

In another move, the Better Cotton Initiative, an independent body which promotes ethical and sustainable standards, has decided to stop auditing and certifying farms in Xinjiang. The US ban could have a significant impact on the global fashion industry, not least because Xinjiang accounts for around 85% of the cotton grown in China and for about 20% of the cotton grown worldwide.

In this editorial, Robin Anson examines the findings of an in-depth report entitled "China's 'tainted' cotton" which was published by the BBC in December 2020, and he discusses the likely impact on the textile and apparel industry of the US ban and other measures aimed at deterring companies from allowing cotton products made in Xinjiang to enter their supply chains.

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Editorial: Imports of cotton textiles and apparel from Xinjiang face sanctions over human rights

Publisher: Textiles Intelligence

4 pages, published in Issue 207, January 2021 

Report price: Euro 275.00; US$ 365.00 

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