Afternoon Coffee: U.S. Apparel Firm Cuts Ties to China Internment Camp; Diamond’s Origin Now Displayed at Tiffany

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A U.S. supplier of team gear to college bookstores says it has cut ties with a company in China that uses labor in an internment camp holding ethnic minorities, the Associated Press reports. The news service had recently tracked shipments from privately owned Hetian Taida Apparel, located inside a government-run internment camp, to Badger Sportswear, a leading supplier in Statesville, North Carolina.

The AP reports: “In recent years, authorities in the far west Chinese region of Xinjiang have detained an estimated 1 million Uighurs and Kazakhs in heavily-secured facilities where detainees say they are ordered to renounce their language and religion while pledging loyalty to the China’s ruling Communist Party.”

‘A Complicated Supply Chain’

Tiffany & Co. announced it has added the country or region of origin for its diamond engagement rings and some diamond jewelry, Supply Chain Dive reports. The provenance of the gems is important because of what is known as “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds,” meaning that their sale in some parts of the world fund rebel armies and corrupt regimes. And Tiffany’s transparency efforts fit with the trend toward corporate social responsibility (CSR). “Diamonds, like palm oil or cocoa, have a complicated supply chain that, over the years, has become notorious for controversy and ethical issues, so it makes sense that Tiffany is looking to reassure customers that their prized purchases are ethically sourced,” Supply Chain Dive reports.

Shutdown Snapshot for Each State

The partial government shutdown continues, with some federal workers filing for unemployment benefits and the president heading to the U.S.-Mexico border to make his case for a wall. The New York Times looks at the shutdown’s effect on each state, with ones around Washington, D.C., and many out West taking the brunt of the impact.

Trade Talks Conclude

And, finally, an update on U.S.-China trade talks: In China, negotiations between the two nations wrapped up, with Chinese officials saying Thursday morning that “a foundation” had been established to address the nations’ concerns, CNBC reports. A U.S. statement said China had pledged to purchase "a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States." China said both sides agreed to keep in “close contact.”

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