The United States has removed cotton from Uzbekistan from the list of products that may have been produced by forced or child labour. The decision was taken by Department of Labor (DoL) followed by an extensive review since last summer during which the DoL and Department of State along with Department of Homeland Security have considered a raft of public comments before making their final call.
Uzbek Cotton was added to the Executive Order No. 13126 list in 2010, that prohibits federal agencies from acquiring goods, wares, articles and merchandise that have been mined, produced or manufactured wholly or in part by forced or indentured child labour.
Furthermore, DoL initially planned to remove the Uzbek cotton from the list on 31st July 2018 but after a thorough review took the final decision
“After a thorough review of the comments received and information available, the departments have determined that the use of forced child labour in the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan has been significantly reduced to isolated incidents. As a result, this product no longer meets the criteria for inclusion in the EO List.” – Department of Labour
Moreover, last month only, the Cotton Campaign met with a delegation of Uzbek government officials, with both noting that the significant reduction of forced labour in cotton fields but said it continues to be an issue. The two sides admitted on broad areas of further progress that are necessary to achieve lasting reform