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US Lawmakers Find ‘Extremely High Risk’ That Products Sold on Temu Are Linked to Forced Labour

A congressional report says the Chinese-owned e-commerce business has insufficient systems in place to prevent goods made by forced labour being sold on its platform.
Temu and Pinduoduo
US lawmakers have warned there is an “extremely high risk” that products sold on Temu are linked to forced labour. (Shutterstock)

US lawmakers have warned there is an “extremely high risk” that products sold on Chinese-owned e-commerce platform Temu are linked to forced labour.

In a report released Thursday, the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party accused the company of failing “to maintain even the façade of a meaningful compliance program” to prevent goods linked to forced labour from appearing on its platform.

Temu did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The e-tailer, which doesn’t manufacture the products sold on its platform, told the committee that it has a code of conduct in place that prohibits suppliers from using forced labour.

But the company doesn’t specifically prohibit third-party sellers from making products in China’s Xinjiang region — where the Chinese government is accused of conducting a campaign of detention and forced labour against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities — nor does Temu have compliance systems in place to ensure its observing a US ban on imports produced in this region, the House Select Committee report found.

The report is part of an ongoing investigation into whether major fashion brands are complying with the 2022 ban. Nike, Adidas and Shein are also under investigation.

The issue has become a flashpoint in mounting tensions between the US and China. The Chinese government has consistently denied allegations of forced labour in Xinjiang.

The report also criticised both Shein and Temu’s use of an importing method that allows companies to ship products with a value of less than $800 direct to consumers without paying shipping duties and with less scrutiny from customs. The two companies are likely responsible for more than 30 percent of all packages shipped to the US under this “de minimis” provision, the Congressional report found.

Some US lawmakers are pushing to close this loophole.

Learn more:

Why Fashion Is Becoming a Major Flashpoint in US-China Tensions

US lawmakers are ratcheting up pressure on some of fashion’s biggest names as the relationship between Beijing and Washington continues to deteriorate.

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