Casual clothing retailer Uniqlo Co. has said that the cotton used in shirts whose import to the United States has been blocked was sourced from outside China.
The shirts were made at a plant in China using cotton procured from outside the country, the unit of Fast Retailing Co. said Tuesday, stressing that there has been no confirmation of forced labor during the manufacturing process for the items.
In January, U.S. Customs and Border Protection blocked imports of Uniqlo brand shirts for possible violation of a U.S. ban related to suspected forced labor in China's Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region.
Uniqlo said that its explanation about the shirts was not accepted by the CBP, while noting that imports have been permitted for other products manufactured at the same Chinese plant. The shirts are not subject to seizure by U.S. authorities although their import was not allowed, it said.
Uniqlo said that it has no direct transactions with Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a major producer of Uyghur cotton under the wing of the Communist Party of China.
The cotton used in the shirts in question was sourced from multiple countries other than China, a Uniqlo official said, adding that the company has submitted certificates of origin to the CBP.
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