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17 Feb, 2024 05:20

Thousands of German luxury cars seized in US

The customs authorities claim that a part found in the vehicles was made using forced labor in China
Thousands of German luxury cars seized in US

Thousands of Volkswagen Group luxury cars have been seized by US customs due to alleged violations of forced labor laws, the Financial Times reported this week.

Several thousand Audis and around 1,000 Porsches, as well as several hundred Bentleys, are being impounded in US ports after the authorities found a component in the vehicles that was allegedly made through forced labor in western China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The luxury car brands have common ownership under the Volkswagen Group. The German carmaker has decided to delay deliveries while the electronic components suspected of breaching the law are replaced, the outlet said, citing people familiar with the issue.

According to the outlet, the process may take until the end of March due to the number of vehicles involved.

Under the 2021 law called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), imports from Xinjiang region are banned due to the presumption that they were made with forced labor.

“When we receive information on human rights risks or potential infringements, we strive to remedy them as quickly as possible,” Volkswagen said in a statement. “As soon as we received information of allegations regarding one of our sub-suppliers, we have been investigating the matter.”

This is not the first time the car manufacturer has been linked to claims of forced labor in China. Volkswagen has a facility in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, which human rights advocates have raised concerns over regarding the use of forced labor.

The carmaker reportedly claimed it was not aware of the origin of the components as they were sourced by an indirect supplier. Volkswagen alerted the US authorities as soon as it was notified that the parts came from western China, the outlet said.

The development comes as Volkswagen strives to balance its falling sales in China with the desire to increase its presence in the US, at a time of growing political tension between the two countries.

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