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Plans for a Zara store in Xinjiang have been halted due to the Xinjiang case

Published: December 8, 2021
Author: Manali bhanushali

Zara, which is owned by the Spanish business Inditex, has been denied permission to develop a store in Bordeaux, France, due to suspicions that the company benefits from forced labour in China’s Xinjiang region.

Zara France intended to expand one of its stores in the city centre from 1,098 square metres to 2,070 square metres, but the local government refused. It intends to challenge the ruling in court.

Because of a legal dispute against Inditex in French courts, members of the Departmental Commission for Business Development (CDAC) voted three to one against the proposal, with six abstentions.

“It is now up to Zara to appeal this judgement to the national commission for commercial development to explain how the company respects these standards,” Sandrine Jacotot, Bordeaux’s deputy mayor for commerce, said.

“Zara France will appeal Bordeaux City Council’s decision not to award a licence for this store expansion to the National Commission for Commercial Development in France because it is not founded on any court ruling,” a Zara France representative stated.

The investigation, launched in June by the French anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office’s crimes against humanity unit, is based on a complaint filed by the anti-corruption organisation Sherpa, the Ethique sur l’étiquette collective, the Uyghur Institute of Europe (IODE), and a Uyghur woman detained in Xinjiang.

They accused Inditex, as well as Uniqlo, SMCP, and Skechers, of procuring clothing made with forced labour by detained Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang area, which produces a fifth of the world’s cotton.

Uniqlo, Inditex, and SMCP have all disputed the charges and offered to help the investigation prove them wrong. Skechers refused to comment on the ongoing lawsuit, but insisted on adhering to a strict supplier code of behaviour.

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