Apple paid a lobbying firm $90,000 to “educate policymakers” about a bill to prevent U.S. imports of goods made with forced labor by China’s Uyghur population, according to lobbying disclosure documents.
China has compelled members of the Uyghur and other Muslim minorities to work in various factories and in cotton fields in Xinjiang Province. A bill passed by the House and currently under consideration in the Senate, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, would ban imports of any goods from Xinjiang unless customs officials can verify that they were not made with forced labor.
Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, and several retail groups hired lobbyists to work on issues related to the Uyghur forced labor bill, according to documents first reported by the Daily Caller. Apple paid $90,000 each to Invariant LLC and Fierce Government Relations.
Invariant’s disclosure filing states that Apple hired the firm to “Educate policymakers on issues related to workforce and supply chains in China, H.R. 6210, Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.”
Additionally, lobbyists from Fierce Government Relations met with Congressional staffers in November in an attempt to soften the language of the bill, The Washington Post reported at the time.
The initial version of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act passed the House by a vote of 406-3 in September. It is unclear when the Senate will vote on the measure.
“As attention in Congress has turned towards supply chain integrity concerns in recent months, companies have begun to deploy high-paid lobbyists on Capitol Hill,” Senator Ben Sasse commented in December. “Americans who believe strongly in human rights and fundamental freedoms have been justifiably confused about these efforts to weaken legislation that seeks to ban imported goods that’s made with Chinese Communist Party’s slave labor.”