AAFA Statement in Response to CSIS Report on China's Xinjiang Province

October 17, 2019 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association released the following statement after the release of Connecting the Dots in Xinjiang: Forced Labor, Forced Assimilation, and Western Supply Chains from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS): 

We are deeply concerned by reports on labor practices in Xinjiang province. Forced labor in any form is unacceptable – our industry does not tolerate forced labor in our supply chains. Indeed, it is a top priority of our industry to ensure that all workers in our supply chains – regardless of the country or region where we operate – work under safe, ethical, and humane conditions.

Over many decades, our industry has built a mutually beneficial relationship with China, making China not only the largest manufacturer of apparel in the world, but also the world’s fastest growing market for garments.

Thanks to our long relationship with China, we have been able to provide quality and value to our global consumers, produce garments under socially responsible conditions, and support millions of jobs in the U.S. and China through global value chains.

The supply chain underlying this relationship must operate in conformance with all local, national, and international laws, regulations, and standards. 

We have been working closely with our members to educate them with available information about labor practices in Xinjiang province, so they can conduct the necessary due diligence to assure that products are not made with, or use components that were touched by, forced labor. Today’s CSIS report is an important contribution to that knowledge base.

The key to successfully preventing forced labor is collaboration and information sharing with our suppliers, with U.S. and foreign governments, NGOs, think tanks, and other key stakeholders so that we can assess the extent of any problems and work collectively to address them.

Therefore, in the interest of our mutually beneficial trade relationship, and to quickly address this evolving challenge, we respectfully ask the Chinese government to facilitate all due diligence measures to assure a clear understanding of the facts and that necessary actions are being taken to protect workers from forced labor.

Finally, we welcome publication of the CSIS report. We will work with our members to determine how best to incorporate its key recommendations to make our efforts even more effective in the future.