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Xinjiang Import Ban - What Importers Need to Know

Stacks of red shipping containers marked with the Chinese flag
The Xinjiang import ban prohibits the import of all goods from XUAR, including cotton, tomato and polysilicon products. Discover how working with a customs broker can help ensure you're able to import your products legally and safely.
By
Josh Kimble
January 20, 2022
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Last Modified: February 15, 2022

In the case of the Xinjiang import ban, importers who rely on the manufacture of cotton, tomato, or polysilicon products from the region are now left scrambling. Whether you’re part of an established corporation or an individual importer, import bans can have a significant impact on your ability to do business. So, as an importer, what do you need to know about the Xinjiang import ban? 

The Xinjiang import ban impacts all goods that are mined, produced, or manufactured in the region, including cotton, tomato and polysilicon products. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) bans the import of goods from XUAR, citing human rights abuses and forced labor. Working with a Licensed Customs Broker can ensure your imports are legal and compliant with U.S. Customs and the import ban.

Read on to learn more about the specific products being impacted, how the ban will affect your business, and ways that we can help you combat the import ban.

Do you need immediate assistance related to the Xinjiang import ban? We’re here to help. You can schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with our Licensed Customs Brokers. We’ll answer all of your questions and review your current import program to determine if and how you’ll be affected by the ban

Unsure whether the Xinjiang Import Ban Impacts Your Business?

Schedule a 1-on-1 consulting session with our experienced and licensed experts and get the answers you need

Why Did the U.S. Ban Imports from the Xinjiang Region?

The legislation, known as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), was signed by the Biden administration in an effort to combat human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China. The human rights violations cited include the detainment of individuals in internment camps, forced labor and forced sterilization.

The bill, signed in December 2021, bans imports from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and imposes sanctions on those responsible for forced labor. The strategy for keeping goods from Xinjiang from being allowed import into the U.S. will be created by the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force. 

In addition to the import ban, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Treasury have imposed restrictions on more than 30 Chinese research institutes and tech entities.

What is the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force?

The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force was created under Section 741 of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act. The task force is chaired by the Secretary of Homeland Security and is comprised of representatives from several other government agencies.

Under the UFLPA, the task force must request public comment on how to ensure that goods produced using forced labor do not enter the United States.  Comments must be solicited by Jan. 22 and remain open for 45 days.

Once the 45 days are up, the task force must hold a public hearing. After the hearing, the task force must provide a detailed enforcement strategy. This strategy must include:

  1. A list of entities from Xinjiang that produce goods with forced labor, the products produced by these entities, and high-priority sectors for enforcement
  2. Guidance for importers that addresses topics like due diligence, supply chain tracing and supply chain management. Additionally, the guidance must inform importers about the type, nature and extent of evidence required to import goods from Xinjiang and prove that said goods were not produced using forced labor
  3. A plan to coordinate strategy with entities in the private sector

Are All Chinese Imports Banned?

Xinjiang Import Ban - Cargo Ship Photo

No, this ban only restricts the import of goods produced in the Xinjiang region of China. Importers may continue to source products from other regions of China when securing shipments from abroad.

What Products are Affected by the Xinjiang Import Ban

The import ban affects any goods “mined, produced or manufactured, wholly, or in part” in the Xinjiang region of China. Any products manufactured in the region are assumed to be produced using forced labor unless an importer is able to provide “clear and convincing evidence” otherwise. 

Among the goods impacted by the import ban, some commodities have been identified as high-priority commodities for enforcement. The high-priority products include cotton, tomatoes and polysilicon.

It’s estimated that 20-percent of the world’s cotton and 45-percent of polysilicon is imported from Xinjiang. The polysilicon sourced from Xinjiang is primarily known for its use in the manufacture of solar panels and smartphones. 

Additionally, CBP estimates that roughly $9 billion worth of cotton products and $10 million worth of tomato products were imported from China in the past year. However, it’s not known how much of those products were imported specifically from Xinjiang.

If you believe that your imports are affected by the import ban, or you’re unsure of whether or not they are, consult with a Licensed Customs Broker. A customs broker can review your imports and determine whether or not your shipments are compliant with U.S. customs and any import bans. 

Has Your Business Been Impacted by the Xinjiang Import Ban?

Speak to our team of Licensed Customs Brokers and get assistance identifying new product sources

Xinjiang Cotton and Tomato Ban

Prior to the signing of the UFLPA, the U.S. placed bans specifically on cotton and tomato products from the region.

CBP issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) in 2021 on all cotton and tomato products produced in the Xinjiang region due to forced labor and human rights abuses. The WRO mandated that all products imported from the region be detained. Once detained, the importer had the option to export the goods back out of the country or prove that the goods were not manufactured using forced labor.

The Xinjiang import ban now covers the commodities originally impacted by the WRO as well as all other products produced from that region.

How Much Does the U.S. Import from XUAR?

According to Reuters, imports from Xinjiang to the United States rose 116-percent in 2020, accounting for $653.5 million. Those imports accounted for around 4 percent of Xinjiang’s total exports by value, up from less than 2 percent in 2019. 

In addition to cotton, tomato and polysilicon products, other goods imported from the region include:

  • Electronic components
  • Shoes
  • Gloves
  • Noodles
  • Printed material
  • Toys
  • Wigs

What Happens to Importers Who Don’t Comply with the Ban

A wide shot of a shipping container yard

Importers and businesses have been warned by the Biden administration that any individual or entity with supply chain investments in the Xinjiang region could face legal consequences if they do not abide by this import ban. This includes individuals and companies who are linked even indirectly.

The U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security and Labor issued the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory in July of 2021. This advisory provides a full explanation of the situation involving the import ban and human rights abuses.

The advisory also states that potential legal risks of importing goods from XUAR include:

  • Violation of statutes criminalizing forced labor 
  • Sanctions violations, if dealing with designated persons
  • Export control violations
  • Violation of the prohibition of importations of goods produced in whole or in part with forced labor or convict labor

Additionally, any goods imported from the Xinjiang region may be refused entry, seized, or detained by CBP. 

It’s critical that your shipments and imports are compliant with U.S. Customs and any potential import bans. The consequences of non-compliance can be not just financial, but legal as well. Consult with a Licensed Customs Broker and ensure that your imports remain unaffected by the import ban.

Unsure whether the Xinjiang Import Ban Impacts Your Business?

Schedule a 1-on-1 consulting session with our experienced and licensed experts and get the answers you need

Who Enforces the Import Ban?

A man in a construction helmet looks up at a crane lifting a shipping container

The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force is responsible for developing the strategy necessary to prevent the import of goods from XUAR and ways to enforce the ban.

Once the import ban goes into effect, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will prohibit all goods from Xinjiang from entering the United States, unless specifically requested. 

CBP will automatically assume that all goods from the region are produced using forced labor. In order for an importer to ship goods from this region, they must provide “clear and convincing evidence” that the goods or materials were not sourced or produced using forced labor.

If the goods are determined to be acceptable for importation, CBP must submit a public report to Congress within 30 days identifying the specific goods and the evidence for why they should be allowed entry to the U.S.

Will This Ban Affect My Business?

If your business imports goods made in whole, or in part within the XUAR, you will be affected by the Xinjiang import ban.

This applies to more than just goods directly from Xinjiang too. The ban impacts “downstream” products and goods made “in part” from XUAR. That means that if you’re importing cotton clothing from Vietnam, but your supplier sources their cotton from the Xinjiang region, your clothing imports will also be subject to the import ban.

By not complying with the import ban, you could face both financial and legal consequences. That’s why it’s so important to work with a Licensed Customers Broker. A customs broker can help take a look at your import documents and the products you import to make sure that you’re compliant with the Xinjiang import ban. Additionally, our team can assist you in identifying alternative suppliers for current products that you may import from the XUAR. 

When Does the Import Ban Go Into Effect?

A calendar with the date "June 21, 2022" circled

The import ban is scheduled to go into effect on June 21, 2022. That marks 180 days from the time that the bill was passed. The ban will remain in effect until Dec. 23, 2029, or until the ban is lifted by the U.S. by certifying that human rights abuses have ended in Xinjiang.

Get Help Navigating the Xinjiang Import Ban

Import bans can be devastating to a business. Depending on what you’re selling, you may not even know that your goods are being impacted by the ban. Working with a Licensed Customs Broker, like the ones at USA Customs Clearance, can give you peace of mind that your imports are safely brought into the U.S.

A customs broker’s job is to ensure that your shipment is legal and compliant with U.S. Customs. When non-compliance can lead to heavy legal and financial penalties, as is the case with imports impacted by the Xinjiang import ban, it’s critical that this process is done right.

Our team can help you review your documents, your imports and your suppliers and ensure that you get an answer to whether or not your shipment is impacted by the import ban. If so, we’ll walk you through the process of what to do next. 

Schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with our licensed professionals to get the help and answers you need.

Has Your Business Been Impacted by the Xinjiang Import Ban?

Speak to our team of Licensed Customs Brokers and get assistance identifying new product sources

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