Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, welcomes a new report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee into Uyghur forced labour in Xinjiang and UK value chains.
Nus, who led the Inquiry, said:
- "It is deeply concerning that companies selling to millions of British customers cannot guarantee that their supply chains are free from forced labour. Modern slavery legislation and BEIS Department policy are not fit for purpose in tackling this grave situation. The Government must act to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act, introduce a tougher business policy framework, and examine the use of targeted sanctions to ensure every effort is made to stamp out profiteering from these abuses.
- Amid mounting evidence of abuses, it is deeply disappointing that the Government appears to lack the urgency and commitment to take the tough action which is both necessary and overdue. Amid compelling evidence of abuses, there has been a sorry absence of significant new Government measures to prohibit UK businesses from profiting from the forced labour of Uyghurs in Xinjiang and other parts of China."
For this inquiry, the BEIS Committee heard from a variety of witnesses including Boohoo, H&M, TikTok, The North Face, and Nike.
The report expresses concern about the potential flow of information between TikTok UK, its parent company ByteDance Ltd and other subsidiary companies (such as ByteDance (HK) Ltd), which could be subject to China's National Intelligence Law. The BEIS Committee invites TikTok to publish independently verified governance and data flow arrangements to confirm full legal separation between TikTok UK and other ByteDance Ltd group companies.
The report finds it “clearly unacceptable” that Boohoo was found to have only minimal data about the different tiers in their supply chain, resulting in labour abuses in the UK. However, the report welcomes Sir Brian Leveson’s review at Boohoo and encourages other companies to undertake independent inquiries into their due diligence policies.
The report notes that the Committee is “deeply disappointed” that The Walt Disney Company declined the invitation to give oral evidence, and to engage meaningfully with the Committee’s inquiry, and finds that Disney still has many questions to answer relating to its conduct in Xinjiang, principally in relation to the production of Mulan in the region.
The report includes a series of recommendations to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and strengthen the UK sanctions regime. The report also calls on the BEIS Department to commit to full transparency in terms of official development assistance channelled to China.
The full report can be read here.