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Senator Wyden asks Tesla, GM and Ford about Chinese supply chains

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked major automakers, including You’re here, General Engines and Fordto provide details of their Chinese supply chains after a to study Found links between some automakers and Chinese entities in a region where US officials say forced labor exists.

Wyden sent letters to eight automakers, asking how they map their supply chains to determine if any part is tied to the region where the Uyghur minority group allegedly suffered abuse. Wyden referred to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law, which President Joe Biden enacted last year and took effect in June. The bill states that imports from China’s Xinjiang region should not be allowed into the country unless the importer can convincingly prove that the products were not made with forced labor.

Wyden told the companies that the information he requested “will assist the Senate Finance Committee’s investigation into the effectiveness of United States trade efforts to address forced labor and other serious human rights abuses.” man in China”.

In one fact sheet released last year, the US State Department wrote that the Chinese government had used surveillance technology and criminal charges to help it ‘abduct and detain’ more than a million Muslims, including Uyghurs and other ethnic groups. The agency said there were up to 1,200 “state-run internment camps” in Xinjiang where forced labor is used.

A representative of the Chinese Embassy in the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but China has already refuse use of forced labor, despite contrary conclusions by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary slavery.

In the letters, Wyden referred to a report This month from the Helena Kennedy Center for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University who found links between Chinese companies operating in the Xinjiang region and the automakers that use their products.

The senator asked Tesla, GM, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Stellantide, Toyota and volkswagen how they track parts manufacturing supply chains in other countries like Mexico or Canada to determine if there are links to Xinjiang.

Wyden also asked the automakers if they planned to leave the Xinjiang region and if they had ever terminated or threatened to terminate a relationship with a supplier or contractor over its ties to the region. He requested additional information on all shipments to automakers that were seized by border authorities.

GM said after the report that it monitors its global supply chain and conducts due diligence, “particularly when we identify or are made aware of potential violations of law, our agreements or our policies.” The automaker said it uses its supplier code of conduct, guided by the United Nations Global Compact, to “investigate issues, substantiate allegations, establish facts and act quickly to determine the appropriate solution on a case-by-case basis.” cases, up to and including the termination of business relations.

GM also said it has a “robust” Supplier Code of Conduct and Terms of Use that “clearly sets out our prohibition against the use of child labor or any other form of forced or involuntary labor, abusive treatment of employees or corrupt business practices in procurement”. .” of goods and services to GM.”

A spokesperson for Stellantis said the company “takes these matters very seriously” and is reviewing Wyden’s letter and the study he referred to.

“Building strong and responsible supply chains is an important goal for us,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We monitor our suppliers’ compliance with our code of conduct and respect for human rights by requiring contractual commitments and continuous evaluation.”

A Honda spokesperson said in a statement that the company “expects our suppliers to follow our global sustainability guidelines as they relate to labor” and that the company “will work with policy makers. on these important issues.

A Toyota spokesperson declined to comment, noting that the company just received the letter. The other automakers named in this article did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“I recognize that automobiles contain many parts from around the world and are subject to complex supply chains,” Wyden wrote. “However, this recognition cannot cause the United States to compromise its fundamental commitment to uphold human rights and American law.”

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