Beijing: UFLPA Is a Human Rights Violation

May 29, 2024 – China’s Foreign Ministry criticized the U.S.’s Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) at a press conference in Beijing last week in response to the Senate Finance Committee’s release of an investigation accusing major automakers including BMW of poor UFLPA compliance. 

Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Ministry, stated that UFLPA does not prevent forced labor but instead creates “forced unemployment.”

He argued that the act undermines human rights by impeding the right to subsistence, employment, and development in Xinjiang. The spokesperson labeled UFLPA as the most notorious and egregious law against human rights in the 21st century.

He further accused the U.S. of attempting to coerce companies worldwide to participate in containing and suppressing China under the guise of compliance. China condemned the act as “bullying” and double standards, vowing to defend the “lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies” against such actions. Read the transcript

AAEI’s China Working Group, which is open to all members, is developing a “talking points” document for members to use as a guide when compliance professionals get called into a C-Suite office to discuss and explain China-related trade proposals. AAEI members can contact AAEI’s Government Affairs Manager Mitchell Hart to get involved. 

Lawmakers Call on USTR to Examine Import Bans in South Africa

May 29, 2024 – A group of U.S. lawmakers is calling on the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to help the pork industry gain fair market access in South Africa.

In a letter organized by Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) and sent to Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai last week, the
lawmakers noted that South Africa has received preferential trade benefits under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) programs. However, they said, “South Africa refuses to follow international standards on pork products or uphold market access commitments made during the 2015 AGOA reauthorization.”

South Africa bans imported offal, heat-treated or canned products, and casings; a requirement that lymph nodes be removed from shoulder cuts; trichinae-related freezing requirements; and limits on imported cuts over
unfounded concerns related to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome and the pseudorabies virus.
“These restrictions provide unreasonable and unequitable treatment of our exports,” the lawmakers said.

The lawmakers call South Africa’s ban a non-tariff trade barrier to pork trade. 

The letter reminds Ambassador Tai that USTR has an ongoing annual review process for AGOA.

Read the lawmakers’ letter.

In April, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill to renew AGOA through 2041.

USDA Seeks Nominations for Cotton Board

May 29, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last month a request for nominations to the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS’s) Cotton Board. Eligible nominees are domestic cotton producers from
Arizona, Georgia, and Texas, as well as importers of cotton and cotton-containing products. USDA will appoint members and alternates for three-year terms beginning January 1, 2025, to December 31, 2027.

Certified producer organizations (CPOs) and Certified Importer Organizations (CIOs) will hold caucuses this
summer to nominate two qualified candidates for each open position in their respective industry segment.

Producer caucuses are scheduled as follows:

  • Arizona: Thursday, June 27 at 10 a.m. MDT
  • Georgia: Monday, July 15 at 3 p.m. EDT
  • Texas: Thursday, July 18 at 2 p.m. CDT


An importers caucus is scheduled for Tuesday, July 9 at 10 a.m.

For nominating and caucus information, including organizations seeking certification and a list of CPOs and CIOs,
contact Cotton Research and Promotion at (540) 361-2726 or More information is available
on the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Cotton Board webpage.

The Cotton Board was created under the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966 and administers a federally authorized and industry-funded program aimed at strengthening the competitive position of cotton against manmade fibers like polyester. The program is funded by assessments on U.S. cotton producers and importers and generates $70-80 million a year for research and marketing activities. AMS provides oversight to ensure costs are covered by industry assessments, rather than tax dollars.

The Cotton Board, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, collaborates with Cotton Incorporated to expand cotton markets, improve fiber quality, and reduce production costs, while keeping stakeholders informed about
program advancements. AMS says that it aims for the boards, councils, and committees it oversees to reflect the
diversity of their industries in terms of the experience of members, method of production and distributions, and
including individuals from historically underserved communities. Learn more about the Cotton Board at the Cotton Board’s website.