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

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked major automakers, including Tesla, common engine and Fordto provide detailed information about their Chinese supply chain after a learn found links between several auto companies and Chinese entities in the 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 are linked to an area where the Uighur minority is alleged to have been abused. Wyden referred to the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law last year and comes into effect in June. The bill says that imports from China’s Xinjiang region should not be allowed into the country unless the importer can convincingly demonstrate that the products were not produced using forced labor.

Wyden told the companies that the information he requested “will assist the Senate Finance Committee’s investigation into the effectiveness of U.S. trade-based efforts to combat forced labor and other serious human rights violations in China.”

in one flyer published last year, the US State Department wrote that the Chinese government has used surveillance technologies and criminal charges to help it “kidnap and detain” more than a million Muslims, including Uighurs and other ethnic groups. The agency said there are as many as 1,200 “state-run internment camps” in Xinjiang where forced labor is being used.

Representatives of the Chinese Embassy in the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but China had previously refuse the use of forced labor, although reverse detection by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Slavery.

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

The senator asked Tesla, GM, Ford, Honda’s motobike, Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, Toyota and volkswagen how they track supply chains that produce parts in other countries like Mexico or Canada to determine if there are any links back to Xinjiang.

Wyden also asked automakers if they plan to move out of the Xinjiang region and if they have ever severed or threatened to sever relationships with suppliers or sub-suppliers over links. their with the region or not. He asked for more information about any shipments to automakers that had been seized by border authorities.

GM said after the report that it monitors its global supply chain and conducts due diligence, “especially when we identify or become aware of violations of laws, agreements or policies of the company.” we.” The automaker says it uses a supplier code of conduct, guided by the United Nations Global Compact, to “investigate issues, substantiate claims, establish facts.” and act quickly to determine the appropriate solution in each specific case, including termination of the business relationship.”

GM also said it has a “strong” supplier code of conduct and terms and conditions that “clearly state that we prohibit any use of child labor or any other form of labor.” other forced or involuntary practices, ill-treatment of employees or corrupt business practices in the supply process”. goods and services for GM.”

A Stellantis spokesperson said the company “takes these matters extremely seriously” and is reviewing Wyden’s letter and the research he referenced.

“Building a strong and responsible supply chain is an important focus 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 ongoing evaluation and contractual commitments.”

A Honda spokesperson said in a statement that the company “expects our suppliers to follow our Global Sustainability Guidelines for Labor” and that the company “will work with suppliers to ensure compliance with our global sustainability guidelines.” policymaking on these important issues.”

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

“I realized automobiles contain many parts sourced around the world and subject to complex supply chains,” Wyden writes. “However, this recognition cannot cause the United States to compromise its fundamental commitment to upholding American human rights and the rule of law.”

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