Economists demand better labeling of Chinese forced-labor goods
On Thursday night, two free-market economists used the United States’ supply chains woes as a basis to support labeling Chinese goods made using forced labor.
George Mason University economists Christine McDaniel and Weifeng Zhong spoke at the non-profit Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington. They said that the U.S. has become too dependent on Chinese imports and is now looking at the forced labor practices of the communist country for the past 20 year.
“Demand improved labeling Not just to know that something was made in China, but to verify that it was not made by forced labor,” Ms. McDaniel, a trade relations specialist, told The Washington Times after the event.
Ms. McDaniel said accurate labeling would make it possible for Americans to avoid Chinese products not certified as coming from fair labor practices, even though it would burden China‘s manufacturers financially to do more rigorous checks.
” I think there are many Americans who want help but feel overwhelmed because of the lack of information and time they have,” she stated. “So, the best we can do for consumers is to provide more information .”
. This puts the burden on manufacturers
The senior fellows of the George Mason school’s libertarian Mercatus Center think-tank said that the U.S. wouldn’t be in such a dire situation due to the global supply shortage if it wasn’t so dependent on low-cost labor in China for labor-intensive goods once made in America.
Mr. Zhong grew up in China , and graduated from college in 2006,. He said that it was ironic how many of his countrymen initially opposed his country’s December 2001 admission to the World Trade Organization in an effort to reform communist nation’s labor practices.
He said instead that the Communist Party had “anywhere from hundreds to perhaps a few millions” of its citizens, mostly political dissidents in forced labor, even though they were part of the global market.
“We have goods made from China, possibly with forced labor, and really there’s no good way to verify,” Mr. Zhong said.
He claimed that the Chinese regime silently herds its forced laborers home from abroad, rather than keeping them in camps. He also rubber stamps labor practices to claim that there is no forced labor “to their best knowledge”.
Mr. Zhong stated that Americans and other outsiders must fight the flood of cheap Chinese goods flooding the market.
Their comments were made during a week when U.S. legislators and Chinese communist officers have been at odds over forced labor claims.
A Friday press conference was held by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, northwest China to deny reports that it was forcing Uyghur Muslims into forced labour.
Xu Guixiang was the spokesperson for Xinjiang’s regional government. He also accused the U.S. having a long history in forced labor, even though the U.S. plays the international role as “human rights defender,” Reuters reported.
“The U.S. claims of ‘large-scale forced labor’ in Xinjiang are a complete distortion of the reality of people in Xinjiang and groundless lies made up by some organizations in the West along with anti-China individuals,” Mr. Xu said.
The press conference was held after three senators hit Arizona-based Universal Electronics Inc. on Wednesday for employing 365 Uyghur workers at its plant in Guangxi in southern China as part of a worker transfer agreement. The company claimed that it had ended the agreement last week.
Sens. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican. Robert Menendez New Jersey Democrat and Jeff Merkley Oregon Democrat demanded answers in a jointly written letter to the company. This was following a Reuters report about the company’s Chinese interest.
“American businesses must avoid Uyghur forced labor in China, and should also carefully vet arrangements with third-party labor agent. “Last week’s reports suggest Universal Electronics may have failed in this duty,” Senators wrote in a letter posted on Mr. Rubio’s website.
Citing the State Department’s 2021 Trafficking in Persons report, the senators’ letters accuses China Communist Party of “threats and physical violence, forcible drugs intake, and physical and sexual abuse to force detainees into work in nearby or off-site factories, or worksites .”
Ms. McDaniel said at Thursday night’s panel discussion that just because a product says “made in China” doesn’t mean it wasn’t made with forced labor — and Chinese officials are happy not to look too closely at the issue.
” The Chinese Community Party doesn’t want audits,” she stated.