Esquel asks US govt to remove sanction on Changji Esquel

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Esquel Group, which supplies clothing to brands like Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger, has written to US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross to remove its subsidiary Changji Esquel Textile Co from the list of 11 entities on which the US government has imposed restrictions on access to US-origin items, including commodities and technology.

This week Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the department of commerce added to the 11 Chinese companies in the Entity  List implicating them in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of the China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labour, involuntary collection of biometric data, and genetic analyses targeted at Muslim minority groups from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

The new Entity List supplements BIS’s two tranches of Entity List designations in October 2019 and June 2020, actions that together added 37 parties engaged in or enabling China’s repression in Xinjiang. 

"Esquel Group is deeply offended by the decision by the US department of commerce. We absolutely have not, do not, and will never use forced labour anywhere in our company," the Group said in a press release.

"There is no evidence to support the allegations against us on the use of forced labour in Changji Esquel Textile. We set up Changji Esquel Textile as a highly automated spinning mill back in 2009, employing skilled technicians who are paid at least 2-3 times the minimum wage level. A leading global audit firm who last came to Changji Esquel Textile in 2019 confirmed we do not use forced labour, and over the years many international groups and customers have visited the site with positive reports," the release added. 

Besides Changji Esquel, two other textile-garment companies—Hetian Taida Apparel Co. Ltd and Nanjing Synergy Textiles Co. Ltd—are also among the list of 11 companies in the new Entity List released by the department of commerce.