Washington International Law Journal


Since 1989, the United States has engaged in a heated debate with the People's Republic of China over products manufactured in Chinese prisons which enter U.S. markets. Human rights advocates argue that conditions in China's prisons violate human rights principles, and therefore, the United States should not extend Most Favored Nation trade status to China. Others argue that human rights conditions will only improve if the United States continues to extend MFN privileges. Forgotten is section 307 of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1930, which prohibits imports of products made from prison labor. To effectively address the prison labor issue with China, the United States should remove the issue from the human rights debate and focus on improved enforcement of section 307.

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