Nike and Coca-Cola are among a number of companies seeking to water down a bill that would ban imports from a region of China where products are made through forced labor by minority Muslim groups being held in detention camps, according to a report.
The bill, called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, would forbid the import of a variety of materials from the Xinjiang region of China, in an effort to crack down on human rights abuses, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
It passed the House in September by a 406 to 3 vote and has enough support to pass the Senate.
Xinjian produces materials like cotton, sugar, coal and tomatoes and also supplies workers for Chinese clothing factories.
Lobbyists trying to weaken the bill say they condemn the use of forced labor and the acts of cruelty on groups like the Uighurs in Xinjiang but the legislation could seriously disrupt supply chains in China.
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China released a report in March that listed a number of companies with suspected ties to forced labor, including Nike, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Campbell Soup Company, Costco, H&M, Patagonia and Tommy Hilfiger.
Coca-Cola in a statement said it “strictly prohibits any type of forced labor in our supply chain” and monitors its suppliers.
The company also said its facility in Xinjiang that supplies sugar to a local bottling facility that has been linked to allegations of forced labor “successfully completed an audit in 2019.”
Greg Rossiter, the director of global communications at Nike, said it “did not lobby against” the bill but did engage in “constructive discussions” with congressional staff aides.
Nike responded to the forced labor claims by referring to a March statement which said the company does not source products from the region and ensures that its supplies are not using materials from Xinjiang.
It also said its factory in Qingdao stopped hiring workers from Xinjiang in 2019 and conducted an audit to determine whether there were any employees from the region at the facility.
The bill would require companies sending goods to the US to examine the supply chains and possibly drop business with Chinese suppliers.
It would also ban importing goods made “in whole or in part” in Xinjiang unless the companies can prove that the products were not made with forced labor.