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BMW Imported 8,000 Vehicles with Banned Chinese Parts Linked to Forced Labor, Senate Report Reveals

A new study by the U.S. Senate has uncovered that German car manufacturer BMW imported a minimum of 8,000 Mini Cooper vehicles into the United States. These vehicles were found to have electronic parts sourced from a Chinese supplier that has been prohibited. The report, published on Monday by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, emphasizes that these components were obtained from Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group (JWD), a corporation associated with the use of forced labor.

The Senate study reveals that BMW persisted in importing items that included these prohibited components until at least April. BMW responded by email, stating that it has implemented measures to stop the importation of the problematic items and is commencing a service activity to replace the particular parts. The corporation highlighted its dedication to stringent criteria for employment policies, human rights, and working conditions for all primary suppliers.

This scenario emerged as a result of the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) in 2021, which aims to prohibit the importation of items manufactured using coerced labor from China’s Xinjiang region. China has refuted accusations of coerced labor pertaining to the Uyghur ethnic minority. Senator Wyden condemned the self-regulation efforts of automakers and called on the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) department to strengthen enforcement and take a more forceful approach in tackling the issue.

The research revealed that Bourns Inc., an automotive supplier located in California, procured the prohibited components from JWD and subsequently supplied them to Lear Corp, a primary supplier for BMW and Jaguar Land Rover. Lear Corp expeditiously informed its clients, namely BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, and Volkswagen, of the illegal components in January.

According to reports, Jaguar Land Rover imported spare parts including JWD components after December. However, the company quickly stopped sending these parts and isolated the impacted inventory. In a similar vein, Volkswagen revealed that a substantial number of Porsche, Bentley, and Audi vehicles were detained at ports in the United States because they had JWD components, which were subsequently substituted.

The Senate investigation revealed that BMW halted imports only in response to persistent requests from the committee. Lear Corp expressed its commitment to addressing the matter seriously and clarified that it does not have a direct affiliation with JWD. Volkswagen has reasserted its dedication to eliminating the use of forced labor in its supply chain.

Volvo Cars acquired LAN transformers from JWD for a forthcoming automobile program that had not yet commenced production, and hence, the components were not utilized in any vehicles.

The disclosures from the Senate report highlight the necessity for rigorous supervision and implementation to guarantee that goods brought into the United States adhere to legislation designed to prevent coerced labor. The automobile sector, specifically, is under heightened scrutiny to ensure the maintenance of ethical supply chains and the upholding of human rights standards.

Source : https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/bmw-imported-8000-vehicles-into-us-with-parts-banned-chinese-supplier-senate-2024-05-20/

(The story is published based on the data from a syndicated feed. However there can be minor changes from the original source article.)

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