Apple is actively lobbying against a bill that would hold it, and other companies based in China accountable for the use of forced labor, according to congressions sources who spoke to The Washington Post. Per the report:
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would require U.S. companies to guarantee they do not use imprisoned or coerced workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang, where academic researchers estimate the Chinese government has placed more than 1 million people into internment camps. Apple is heavily dependent on Chinese manufacturing, and human rights reports have identified instances in which alleged forced Uighur labor has been used in Apple’s supply chain.
The staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks with the company took place in private meetings, said Apple was one of many U.S. companies that oppose the bill as it’s written. They declined to disclose details on the specific provisions Apple was trying to knock down or change because they feared providing that knowledge would identify them to Apple. But they both characterized Apple’s effort as an attempt to water down the bill.
In response to the story, an Apple spokesperson says the company remains committed to adhering to laws and ensuring that everyone within its supply chain is treated with “dignity and respect”.
Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock said the company “is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect. We abhor forced labor and support the goals of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. We share the committee’s goal of eradicating forced labor and strengthening U.S. law, and we will continue working with them to achieve that.” He said the company earlier this year “conducted a detailed investigation with our suppliers in China and found no evidence of forced labor on Apple production lines, and we are continuing to monitor this closely.”
CEO Tim Cook said in a hearing in July that Apple would not tolerate any use of forced labor at any stage or level within its supply chain, promising to terminate a relationship with a supplier if found guilty of forced labor. The Fierce Government Relations, a lobbying firm confirmed in a disclosure form it was lobbying against the bill on the behalf of Apple, a contradiction to Mr. Cook’s comments and Apple’s overall public persona of respecting human rights.