WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Monday shelved plans for a broad import ban on cotton and tomato products from China’s Xinjiang region while announcing narrower bans on products from five specific entities. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Deputy Secretary Kenneth Cuccinelli said the new “Withhold Release Orders” (WROs) on cotton, textiles, apparel, hair products and computer parts are aimed at combating China’s use of forced labor by detained Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. He told reporters on a conference call that the administration was conducting more legal analysis of the region-wide import bans. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials told Reuters last week that they had prepared the broader bans on cotton, cotton textiles and tomatoes, among China’s biggest commodity exports, along with the orders announced on Monday. CBP acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said on Monday the agency’s investigations into the region-wide orders were continuing. Two people familiar with the Trump administration’s internal deliberations said that concerns about the broad orders and their effect on supply chains were raised by officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. China also had agreed to buy increased quantities of U.S. cotton under… continue reading
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