Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) chairman and ranking member of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party in their letters said concerns remain about the companies’ “alleged continued use of Uyghur forced labour in their supply chains despite the 2021 Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) which outlawed this practice.”

The representatives also wrote to Chinese firms Shein and Temu, noting concerns the two are using the de minimis loophole in US trade law as a way to skirt the UFLPA and continue selling goods under $800 made with Uyghur forced labour to American consumers.

“Using forced labour has been illegal for almost a hundred years — but despite knowing that their industries are implicated, too many companies look the other way hoping they don’t get caught, rather than cleaning up their supply chains. This is unacceptable,” said Rep. Gallagher. “American businesses and companies selling in the American market have a moral and legal obligation to ensure they are not implicating themselves, their customers, or their shareholders in slave labour. Our message to industry in these letters is clear: either ensure your supply chains are clean — no matter how difficult it is — or get out of countries like China implicated in forced labour.”

Rep. Krishnamoorthi added: “The American people deserve to know how much of what they’re wearing was produced by forced labour in China. We’ve heard from victims about the brutality of forced labour camps that are part of the CCP’s ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China. These companies must show that they’re following the law and that their supply chains are free from forced labour. This is just the first step of our investigation. I look forward to working with chairman Gallagher to shine a light on how forced labour may contaminate our supply chains, and how we need to end this going forward.”

NIKE, adidas, Shein and Temu did not return requests for comment at the time of press.

Earlier this week, US lawmakers urged an investigation into Shein ahead of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on concerns the fast-fashion giant has links to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) which allegedly engages in forced labour practices.

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Shein however denied it had suppliers in the Xinjiang region adding it was committed to respecting human rights and adhering to local laws in each market it operates in.