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China: Protective Clothing

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL10557, tabled on 23 November 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that factories in China have used forced labour from North Korean workers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for export to countries including the UK; what assessment they carried out of factory conditions in China before they purchased PPE produced in that country; what was the total value of the PPE they purchased from companies that manufacture PPE in China; and which companies acted as intermediaries for such purchases.

Answered on

3 December 2020

We are concerned by reports that Chinese factories have used North Korean overseas workers to produce PPE. The Department of Health and Social Care will investigate the supplier concerned. The UK urges all countries, including China, to meet their obligations under UN Security Resolution 2397 to repatriate North Korean workers, who are sent overseas in large numbers to earn money for the North Korean regime.

We take all allegations of modern slavery and forced labour extremely seriously. We expect suppliers to follow the highest legal and ethical standards and to carry out proper due diligence for all government contracts. We publish all contracts for transparency and regret the delay in the publication of some but all will be published as soon as possible. Information is already available online on Contracts Finder on the Gov.uk website. We have been working tirelessly to deliver PPE to protect our health and social care staff on the frontline, with over 5.1 billion PPE items delivered so far.