Supply Chain

The Commerce Department has launched an updated Semiconductor Alert Mechanism to detect supply chain disruptions and bottlenecks. The Semiconductor Alert Mechanism aims to help industry experts at Commerce detect and assess bottlenecks in the semiconductor supply chains and better mobilize and coordinate US government resources to reduce chokepoint risks.

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced today that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Teklas Automotive facility in Aguascalientes, which manufactures automotive parts, are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Child Labor Report Issued The Labor Department released its annual report on the worst forms of child labor, spotlighting child labor abuses globally and reviewing progress made by some …

An Addendum to the 2021 Updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory calls attention to the China’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and the evidence of widespread use of forced labor there. The addendum urges businesses and individuals to continue to undertake appropriate human rights due diligence measures to identify potential supply chain links to entities operating in Xinjiang, entities linked to Xinjiang (e.g., through the pairing program, Xinjiang supply chain inputs, or the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC)), entities included in the UFLPA Entity List, or entities using the labor of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or members of other persecuted groups from Xinjiang.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the addition of three Chinese manufacturers to the Uyghur Forced Labor blacklist which, if enforced, could greatly impact the US vinyl flooring industry. China accounts for 63% of all vinyl floor tiling shipped to the United States in the last two years, and Vietnam comes in second at 20%.  Materially all of the PVC in these shipments is sourced from the Uyghur region, including transshipments through Vietnam.

Four Republican House Committee Chairs sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas criticizing the implementation and enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), complaining that not enough has been done to penalize violators, and calling for more resources to be dedicated to enforcement.   

While Ford Motor Company announced on September 25 that it has paused its partnership with world’s leading EV battery maker, Republican lawmakers complain that Ford will not release confidential business information pertaining to its agreement to license Chinese technology.

On September 18, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) updated the Withhold Release Order (WRO) issued against Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its subsidiaries following the remediation of forced …

Chairman Mike Gallagher of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party urged U.S. officials to enforce sanctions against certain Chinese officials and entities. In a letter addressed …

House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc) and Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich) are calling on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to withhold any federal support for Chinese battery companies in the United States.    The lawmakers – in a letter to Ms. Yellen – specifically scrutinized Treasury for greenlighting new plans for a Michigan battery factory owned and operated by China based Gotion High-Tech Company.  

House Republicans, led by Chairman Michael McCaul, have urged the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to take stringent action against Chinese tech giants Huawei and SMIC. According to a letter sent to BIS Under Secretary Alan Estevez, the lawmakers cited national security concerns following reports of Huawei's new smartphone which integrates 7-nanometer chips developed by SMIC, allegedly violating U.S. export control regulations.

The Market Impact Committee is seeking public comments on the potential market impact of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Annual Materials Plan (AMP) The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains a stockpile of critical and strategic materials known as the National Defense Stockpile (NDS). During a war or national emergency, this stockpile is meant to provide strategic and critical materials to support national defense and essential civilian requirements in a time of national emergency.

Chinese printer manufacture Ninestar, parent of Lexmark International, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other related parties of the U.S. government before the U.S. Court of International Trade. DHS added Ninestar and certain of its subsidiaries to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List, and the company "is suffering irreparable harm to its business and reputation based on the listing," according to a statement.

While staffers from the other China Committee recover from their CoDel to New Guniea, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission will hold a hearing Monday, August 21, on "China's Current Economy: Implications for Investors and Supply Chains" starting at 9:30 a.m. ET. Agenda indicates the first two hours will address China's Economy, with the trade discussion beginning at 11:20 AM.  Livestream on the commission's web page.

Arizona-based First Solar released findings from a third party audit of their Malaysia facility, highlighting unethical practices involving foreign migrant workers. The report details the actions taken by First Solar to address the issues, emphasizing the company's commitment to transparency and responsible solar energy development.

Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party continued his quest with a letter calling for the Federal Communications Commisssion to answer questions about the role of the Chinese in the market for "Cellular IoT Modules," the radio devices which connect industrial equipment and home appliances to each other and central stations through the internet. Later in the week, Mr. Gallagher led a fact-finding mission to Australia to deliver a speech on "United States and Australia's rich history united by freedom, security imperatives, economic interests, and common values," according to a statement.

The United States and Mexico announced yesterday they have agreed on steps to address worker rights violations at a Mexican denim factory that is one of Levi’s largest suppliers. The course of remediation will address denials of rights at the Industrias del Interior facility in the state of Aguascalientes.

The Titanium Sponge Working Group (TSWG), established under the Trump administration in 2020, has released a report highlighting increased dependence of the U.S. on imported titanium sponge, a crucial raw material for titanium metal production. According to the TSWG's findings, U.S. dependency on imported titanium sponge has risen dramatically from 68% in 2020 to 100% today, emphasizing a severe reliance on overseas supplies. These findings underscore the urgency for measures ensuring access to this critical input, which plays a pivotal role in the defense and industrial sectors, particularly in aerospace applications.

The Uyghur Region produces between one third and one half of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon, as well as much as 32% of global metallurgical grade silicon (MGS), polysilicon’s pre-cursor material.    So if it's a solar panel, the odds are good slavery had a hand making it. Alan Crawford and Laura Murphy of Sheffield Hallam University published a review of the solar panel supply chain and its potential exposure to modern slavery, and the findings were discouraging. “Despite significant global pressure for increased transparency, information regarding solar industry sourcing is becoming less transparent over time, thwarting the world’s ability to source ethically,” the Authors write.

The Commerce and Defense Departments announced yesterday that they have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to expand collaboration to strengthen the US semiconductor defense industrial base. The agreement will increase information sharing between the departments to facilitate close coordination on the CHIPS for America’s incentives program, ensuring that their respective investments position the United States to produce semiconductor chips essential to national security and defense programs.

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