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Lawmakers Seek to Sanction Chinese Seafood Firms Over Forced Labor

A bipartisan group of 11 House members urged the Biden administration on Feb. 16 to impose Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on seven Chinese companies for allegedly using Uyghur forced labor to provide seafood to U.S. markets.

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In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the lawmakers wrote that a petition submitted by investigative journalism nonprofit Outlaw Ocean Project and an undisclosed human rights non-governmental organization (see 2401110068) provides “credible allegations” that six seafood suppliers and a labor recruitment company were complicit in the human rights violations against Uyghur workers.

“Disturbingly, the entities listed in the petition hold contracts with major grocery retailers, food providers, and the U.S. government, including supplying U.S. schools and government facilities with seafood linked to forced labor,” the letter says.

The seven companies are Yantai Sanko Fisheries, Yantai Longwin Foods, The Chishan Group (including Shandong Haidu and Rongcheng Haibo), Shandong Meijia Group (including Rizhao Meijia Aquatic Foodstuff, Rizhao Jiayuan Foodstuff, and Rizhao Meijia Keyuan Foods), Qingdao Tianyuan Aquatic Foodstuffs, Rongsense Group (including Rizhao Rirong Aquatic Products and Rizhao Rongxing), and Xinjiang Zhongtai Zhihui Modern Service. None could be reached for comment.

The letter was led by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries; Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., ranking member of the full committee; and Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Select Committee on China. Seven other House members signed the letter.

The State and Treasury departments didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.