The government intends to exclude suppliers and review export controls to prevent the shipping of any goods that could contribute to such violations in Xinjiang, where China is accused of widespread rights violations against Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups.
The action applies to raw fibers, apparel and textiles made from Xinjiang-grown cotton, as well as tomato-based food products and seeds from the region.
China's pushback also came after British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday accused Beijing of abuses amounting to "barbarism" against the Uighurs, as he announced in Parliament new rules to ban imports of goods suspected of using forced labour.
The move is the latest by the Trump administration in its final days to harden the USA position against Beijing, erecting economic penalties that would make it more hard for President-elect Joe Biden to ease U.S. -China tensions after he takes office January 20.
In December, Congress passed the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which assumes that all goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and therefore banned, unless CBP certifies otherwise.
China a year ago introduced a national security law in the former British colony of Hong Kong, under which 53 pro-democracy activists were arrested in dawn raids last week, while Beijing also faced accusations - which it denies - of persecution and forced labour of Uighurs in the restive farwestern region of Xinjiang.
The move is the latest by the Trump administration in its final days to harden the USA position against Beijing, erecting economic penalties that would make it more hard for President-elect Joe Biden to ease U.S. Both will have a big impact on cotton production in Xinjiang, which produces as much as 20% of the world's supply of the commodity.
Cotton futures prices fell slightly Wednesday, but traders attributed the drop to profit-taking after prices hit a two year high on a USA production outlook cut.
The ban, which covers everything from cotton apparel to canned tomatoes, will affect a wide array of USA importers.
The U.S. apparel industry had previously criticized a broad ban as impossible to enforce.
He cited evidence of human rights violations committed against Uighurs.
According to the Telegraph report, the government is considering imposing heavier fines on companies that breach the terms of the legislation, along with new due diligence criteria that oblige firms to ensure that no one in their supply chain has been part of a forced-labour transfer scheme.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China would "take all necessary measures to defend national interests and dignity and firmly safeguard its sovereign, security and development interests".
China says its policies in the vast, resource-rich region abutting several Central Asian countries have put an end to anti-government violence that claimed thousands of lives over recent years.