Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) praised the bipartisan, bicameral agreement to send the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to President Joe Biden’s desk. The bill will ensure that goods made with the slave labor from Uyghurs and others in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) do not enter the U.S. market. Rubio and Merkley previously authored the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-145), the first piece of legislation on Uyghur human rights to be signed into law in the world.
“The United States is so reliant on China that we have turned a blind eye to the slave labor that makes our clothes, our solar panels, and much more,” Rubio said. “That changes today. Our Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act will require businesses importing goods into the United States to prove that their supply chains are not tainted with slave labor. It is time to end our economic addiction to China.”
“The United States must send a resounding and unequivocal message against genocide and slave labor wherever these evils appear,” Merkley said. “This deal to get the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to the President’s desk is essential in that effort. It ensures that American consumers and businesses can buy goods without inadvertent complicity in China’s horrific human rights abuses. As the Chinese government tries to whitewash their genocide and claim a propaganda victory with the upcoming Olympics, it is more important than ever for us to speak out and take action.”
Rubio is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Ranking Senate Member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), and Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Merkley is the Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.