Merchandise manufactured by Chinese sportswear giant Li Ning has been banned from entering the US with the company accused of using North Korean labour in its supply chain.
The US Customs and Border Protection announced on Tuesday that – under the terms of Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) – the entry of goods “mined, produced, manufactured wholly or in part by North Korean nationals or North Korean citizens anywhere in the world” is prohibited.
However, the agency has not yet disclosed where it believes Li Ning uses the North Korean labour or in which part of the rogue state Li Ning sources products or materials.
“CAATSA is yet another tool in CBP’s trade enforcement arsenal that allows us to uphold the fundamental value of human dignity and to ensure the goods that enter the US are free from forced labour,” said AnnMarie Highsmith, of the Office of Trade Executive Assistant Commissioner.
Under US law, Li Ning now has 30 days to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that its merchandise was not produced with convict labour, forced labour, or indentured labour under penal sanctions in order to export its products to the US.
Founded in 1989, Li Ning was named after a former Chinese Olympic gymnast, the brand’s founder. The company reported 4.2 per cent growth with US$2.22 billion in sales in 2020 despite the pandemic. Li-Ning was an official marketing partner of the National Basketball Association and had sponsorship deals with 10 players, including Dwayne Wade.