Senate Republicans call for investigation into Temu app

Two Senate Republicans are urging the Biden administration to investigate Temu, an online marketplace owned by a Chinese parent company.

Both Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote letters to the Biden administration expressing their concern about Temu and alleged that it has connections to forced labor and intellectual property theft.

Cotton’s letter, dated Monday and first reported on by National Review, urges President Biden “to investigate Temu and to request the authorities necessary to protect Americans from this dangerous Chinese application.”

“Temu’s goods are cheap not because of fair competition, but rather because of China’s familiar combination of intellectual-property theft, government subsidies, and human-rights abuses,” Cotton’s letter reads.

“For example, Temu directly copies Amazon storefronts and then sells knock-off Chinese versions of the product at a deeply discounted rate. Temu also likely benefits from the use of slave labor.”

Rubio’s letter, dated Tuesday, asks Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to investigate Temu for “for violating my Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), and to add them to the UFLPA’s Entity List if you find them to be in violation of that law.”

The UFLPA bans the importation of goods produced via forced labor of Uyghur ethnic minorities in a region of China.

Rubio, a co-sponsor of the UFLPA, said Temu “lacks even a basic compliance or auditing system to ensure its products are compliant with UFLPA and has an unenforced code of conduct that prohibits the use of forced labor.”

“In fact, the company has admitted that it ‘does not expressly prohibit third-party sellers from selling products based on their origin in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region,’” Rubio continued in his letter.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said the department “responds to congressional correspondence directly via official channels, and the Department will continue to respond appropriately to Congressional oversight.”

The Hill has reached out to the White House and Temu for comment.

Updated at 5:17 pm.

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