Report: Some Automakers Continued Using Parts Tied to Chinese Forced Labor After 2021 Ban

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

A few years ago, Congress passed legislation banning imported goods from Chinese companies that were believed to use forced labor, but some automakers have been accused of skirting those rules. BMW, Jaguar-Land Rover, and Volkswagen used parts from a sanctioned company, according to a new report from lawmakers.

The Senate Finance Committee investigation found that BMW imported up to 8,000 Mini vehicles with parts produced by Chinese company JWD, which was sanctioned late last year for ties to forced labor programs in the country. JLR imported replacement parts from JWD, and VW admitted to border authorities that some imported vehicles had JWD components.

Some lawmakers accused automakers of willful ignorance of forced labor in their supply chains, with Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden saying, “Automakers are sticking their heads in the sand and then swearing they cannot find any forced labor in their supply chains. Somehow, the Finance Committee’s oversight staff uncovered what multibillion-dollar companies apparently could not.” Wyden also said that the industry’s self-policing measures don’t work.

JLR said the banned subcomponents in the report were from a “prior generation of technology” and noted that it immediately stopped shipping the parts once it realized they were sanctioned. BMW made a similar statement, saying that it had taken steps to stop importing the parts.

It’s worth noting that the sanctioned parts came from two suppliers and were not directly imported by the automakers. Bourns Inc. of California and Lear Corp. of Michigan supplied the components. Lear stated that it had notified its customers of JWD parts and said it would work to re-source the components from another supplier.

[Images: Ken Wolter, Chase d'Animulls, and RYO Alexandre via Shutterstock]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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  • Kcflyer Kcflyer on May 22, 2024

    zee germans are no strangers to forced labor

  • Tassos Tassos on May 22, 2024

    Generally I prefer that exploited labor remain domestic like in the service and trade industries. Given the complex and global integration of supply chains and materials sourcing I accept that most manufacturing must be managed by foreign 'kapos'.

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
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