May 20, 2024
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BMW Accused of Using Forced Labor-Linked Parts in Mini Coopers Sold in US

A US Senate report claims BMW imported thousands of Mini Coopers containing parts from a sanctioned Chinese supplier allegedly using forced labour, despite a 2021 law banning such imports.
 BMW Accused of Using Forced Labor-Linked Parts in Mini Coopers Sold in US
Devon Janse van Rensburg - Unsplash

German automaker BMW is under scrutiny after a US Senate report alleged that the company imported at least 8,000 Mini Coopers to the United States containing electronic components from a sanctioned Chinese supplier. The components in question are prohibited under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), a 2021 law aimed at preventing the import of goods produced using forced labor in China's Xinjiang region.

The report states that BMW continued importing the Mini Coopers with banned parts until at least April, despite being aware of the issue. BMW has responded by saying it has "taken steps to stop the import of the affected products" and will replace the components in question.

Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen are also implicated in the report for importing vehicles with parts from the same sanctioned supplier. The US Congress is now calling for stricter measures to address the issue, as self-regulation by automakers has proven insufficient.

Senator Ron Wyden, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, criticised companies that "promote the flagrant use of forced labor in China" and urged US customs authorities to take decisive action. The report highlights the complexity of global supply chains, as the banned components were purchased by California-based Bourns Inc. from Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group (JWD), a Chinese company on the UFLPA suspect list. Bourns then supplied the parts to Lear Corp, which in turn supplied BMW and Jaguar Land Rover.

BMW reportedly only stopped the imports after repeated inquiries from the Senate committee. Volkswagen faced a similar issue in February when thousands of its vehicles were detained in US ports due to violations of anti-forced labor laws.

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