US lawmakers call to add China’s CATL, Gotion to import ban list, WSJ reports

(Reuters) – Chinese battery companies CATL and Gotion High Tech should be added immediately to an import ban list, a group of Republican lawmakers said, alleging their supply chains use forced labour, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The lawmakers called for CATL and Gotion, which have ties to Ford and Volkswagen respectively, to be added to what is known as the entity list under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, the report said on Thursday.

The entity list restricts the import of goods tied to what the U.S. government has characterised as an ongoing genocide of minorities in China’s Xinjiang region. Beijing denies any abuses.

Any allegation that Gotion “uses or is related to forced labor is baseless and absolutely false”, the company said in an emailed statement to Reuters, adding that the selection of partners is based on “strict review mechanisms and evaluation criteria”.

Volkswagen Group China has no evidence of human rights violations in connection with its business activities in China, a company spokesperson told Reuters in an emailed statement on Friday.

Volkswagen is also investigating these allegations immediately, “as we have done it in the past”, the spokesperson added.

Volkswagen China Investment Co holds 26% of shares in Gotion, and the latter is not nominated for any U.S. projects or import business into the country, the Volkswagen spokesperson said.

CATL denied any suggestion that the company has used forced labor, or has any connection to forced labor, the WSJ report said.

Ford and CATL did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reporting by Harshita Meenaktshi, and Casey Hall; additional reporting by Kanjyik Ghosh; Editing by Michael Perry, Lincoln Feast and Rashmi Aich