US Senate Widens BMW Inquiry Over Alleged Forced Labor Components

US Senate Widens BMW Inquiry Over Alleged Forced Labor Components

The US Senate Finance Committee is broadening its investigation into BMW following revelations that the automaker imported vehicles to the United States containing prohibited Chinese components. Senator Ron Wyden has inquired with BMW North America whether it has ceased importing parts suspected of being produced under forced labor conditions by individuals from China’s Uyghur minority group.

BMW Group has not yet responded to requests for comment. Last month, BMW stated it had taken measures to halt importing affected products after a two-year investigation by Senator Wyden’s team uncovered the importation of at least 8,000 BMW Mini Cooper cars with banned components into the U.S. The investigation revealed that these vehicles contained parts manufactured by Chinese firm Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group (JWD).

Senator Wyden’s letter to BMW inquires about the company’s certainty regarding the exclusion of components produced by JWD in current vehicle imports and requests a response by June 21. The report also implicated other car manufacturers, including Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) was enacted into law by the US Congress in 2021, with the intent of preventing the import of goods originating from China’s Xinjiang region, where a significant number of Uyghurs reside. JWD was listed on the UFLPA Entity List in December 2023, indicating its products are presumed to involve forced labor.

China has faced allegations of detaining over one million Uyghurs in Xinjiang against their will in recent years. Beijing has consistently denied any accusations of human rights violations in the region, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry criticizing the UFLPA, stating it adversely affects the livelihoods and employment rights of individuals in Xinjiang.

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