Timid US sanctions against Chinese cotton

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Published on : 16/09/2020 – 00:36

The taxes imposed in 2018 by the United States on a whole bunch of Chinese products are “illegal”, ruled Tuesday the World Trade Organization. A snub for Washington, which has just imposed new sanctions, this time in the name of human rights in Xinjiang province. Sanctions against Chinese cotton more timid than expected.

New US sanctions against China target companies based in the semi-autonomous province of Xinjiang. Among them, the Linjiang Junggar company, which grows and shells cotton. Its products can no longer be put on the American market, customs can even destroy them, if the company cannot prove that it does not use forced labor against the Uyghur community.

Counter productive

Are we heading towards an embargo by Washington on all cotton from Xinjiang, more than 80% of Chinese production? It had been the threat of the American administration for several days, which officially was still thinking about it. But Washington is listening for the moment to the voice of caution, the measures remain symbolic.

An embargo against Chinese cotton would indeed be totally counterproductive. The United States still imports a lot of textile and clothing products made in China, but in reality very little Chinese cotton.

Less American cotton, more Chinese polyester

The United States exports their cotton to China. American fiber accounts for a third of Chinese cotton imports. A few days before the American presidential election, this trade should not be spoiled, especially since it is boosted by the Sino-American phase 1 agreement, providing for a greater place for American agricultural products, including cotton.

An embargo against cotton from Xinjiang would also be circumvented by Beijing, notes Anne-Laure Linget, specialist in the textile-clothing sector: China would produce less cotton, but even more polyester, based on petroleum products, than it does. could export to United States.

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