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US blocks Chinese imports over forced labour claims

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China crisis: US President Donald Trump met with China’s President Xi Jinping last year

China crisis: US President Donald Trump met with China’s President Xi Jinping last year

REUTERS

China crisis: US President Donald Trump met with China’s President Xi Jinping last year

The United States yesterday moved to block imports of cotton and tomato products from western China's Xinjiang region over allegations that they are produced with forced labour, officials with US Customs and Border Protection said.

The actions, which hit two of China's major commodity exports, were expected to be formally announced last night by CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan, along with five other import bans involving Xinjiang forced labour abuses in an unprecedented move likely to stoke tensions between the world's two largest economies.

The "Withhold Release Orders" allow the CBP to detain shipments based on suspicion of forced labour involvement under long-standing US laws aimed at combating human trafficking, child labour and other human rights abuses.