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Australia Joins US and UK in Signings Warning on Xinjiang Ties

Australia Joins US and UK in Signings Warning on Xinjiang Ties

 Australia joined allies, including the US and UK, in expressing concern about the use of products from China's Xinjiang region in global supply chains.

Local businesses sourcing products from the area must properly verify the supply chain and suppliers, Foreign Minister Marise Payne told the Australian Financial Review in an interview.

Governments are trying to increase pressure on China by treating its Uighur ethnic Muslim minority. The United States says China has detained more than a million Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in "re-education" camps. Beijing has repeatedly rejected the claims, arguing that it is fighting separatism and religious extremism in the region.

The UK said this month it would fine companies if they covered up imports from Xinjiang, while the US this week moved to ban all cotton and tomato products from the region, citing concerns about forced labor.

Australia shares the serious concerns of international partners, such as the United Kingdom, about human rights abuses in Xinjiang, "including in relation to forced labor and arbitrary detention," Payne quoted the newspaper as saying. Australian companies sourcing products from Xinjiang must "perform due diligence on their supply chains and suppliers," the minister said in the report.

Relations between Canberra and China, its key trading partner, have deteriorated since 2018, when Huawei Technologies Co. was prevented from building a 5G network in Australia, and worsened last year after Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government called for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.

China last year ordered traders to stop buying large amounts of Australian raw materials, including coal, barley, sugar, timber, wine and lobster.

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