Car Brands Accused of Using Chinese Slave Labor

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An investigation from the Senate Finance Committee revealed that a few European-based automakers imported either cars or auto parts made using Chinese slave labor to the United States.

The investigation, published Monday, was led by Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) who accused automakers of “sticking their heads in the sand and then swearing they can’t find any forced labor in their supply chains.”

In January of this year, the investigation discovered that a shipment of Volkswagen vehicles made for the U.S. market included auto parts deriving from a Chinese supplier presumptively using slave labor and thus banned by the federal government under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).

The UFLPA became law in late 2021 and is intended to prevent products from making their way to the U.S. market if they were produced in the Xinjiang region of China, known to be the headquarters of slave labor and human rights abuses carried out by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The investigation also found that BMW, based in Germany, imported thousands of cars to the U.S. that included parts presumptively made from Chinese slave labor, banned under the UFLPA. Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover, like Volkswagen, imported auto parts presumptively made from Chinese slave labor.

The investigation details:

The Committee’s investigation has determined that BMW manufactured and imported vehicles containing parts presumptively made with forced labor; Jaguar Land Rover imported parts presumptively made with forced labor; and [Volkswagen] manufactured vehicles for the U.S. market with parts presumptively made with forced labor and has ongoing business ties to manufacturing in the [Xinjiang].

Even after BMW and Jaguar Land Rover were informed of their supply chain’s ties to Chinese slave labor from the Xinjiang region, executives claimed they were either unaware of such ties or denied that their auto parts were linked to slave labor.

Eventually, the investigation stated, BMW executives disclosed that at least 8,000 of its Mini Cooper models, containing parts presumptively made with Chinese slave labor, had already been shipped to the U.S. market for sale.

According to the investigation, BMW continued importing products to the U.S. market presumptively made with Chinese slave labor until at least April of this year. Those imports stopped only after BMW executives discovered that the automaker was being investigated by the committee.

“Automakers’ self-policing is clearly not doing the job,” Wyden said. “I’m calling on Customs and Border Protection to take a number of specific steps to supercharge enforcement and crack down on companies that fuel the shameful use of forced labor in China.”

John Binder
John Binder
John Binder is an immigration and fashion journalist. He focuses on national issues in the United States and writes for various platforms. He is a proud son, husband, father, and USMC Vet.

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