Apple, like Coca-Cola and Nike, is lobbying on China forced-labor bill in Congress


Congress is considering a bill that would punish companies that benefit from forced labor in China.

Getty Images

AppleNike and Coca-Cola are among the companies lobbying Congress for changes in a bill that would ban goods made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region, which is home to the Uighur ethnic minority reportedly being persecuted by the Chinese government. A Capitol Hill staffer said the legislation has bipartisan support and could pass before year’s end.

The bill succeeded in the US House of Representatives in September by a margin of 406 to 3, and it’s now in the Senate. If passed, it would impose restrictions on imports of items tied to forced labor in Xinjiang, among other things. That area is home to an estimated 12 million Uighur Muslims, a group that China is reportedly surveilling and jailing at an alarming rate. Beijing has repeatedly denied these claims.

Still, world governments have begun to take China to task over what the United Nations calls human rights abuses, including with the forced labor bill making its way through Congress.

Though the law has support of both Republicans and Democrats, large US businesses that rely on Chinese companies and workers to assemble and distribute their products are finding themselves stuck between lawmakers at home and in China.

Assembly line of Apple products

A worker in China assembles an Apple device.


Many of the world’s largest companies, including Apple, rely on supply chains that wind through China to make their goods. Chinese consumers are also a large and growing part of their base. In Apple’s case, the…