China: BGI

Department for International Trade written question – answered on 28th July 2021.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the US Commerce Department’s decision to add BGI Group to an economic blacklist of Chinese companies implicated in human rights violations regarding China’s treatment of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.

Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) Chinese companies which have been banned from operating in the United States but have not been banned in the UK, and (2) reasons why those companies have been banned in the United States.

Photo of Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Lord Grimstone of Boscobel The Minister of State, Department for International Trade, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

HM Government has repeatedly condemned the violation of rights and responsibilities in Xinjiang. On 22nd June, a British diplomatic effort helped deliver the support of over 40 countries for a statement on the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council, calling on China to grant unfettered access to the region for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The US is a close partner, but we are an independent nation, with our own decision-making on what constitutes a security threat. The United Kingdom has no equivalent of the US Entity List.

As the passage of the National Security and Investment Act shows, we are strengthening our domestic toolbox in certain sectors. This Act will mandate notification of certain types of transaction to provide a proportionate defence against hostile actors targeting certain sectors. No single country or company is designated as ‘high risk’; transactions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, large businesses operating in the United Kingdom are required to report on how they are tackling forced labour in their operations and supply chains under the Modern Slavery Act.

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