By: Asia Business Outlook Team | Saturday, 10 February 2024
BASF announced on Feb 9 that it would sell its stakes in two joint ventures in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, where human rights organisations have documented abuses such as forced labour in detention camps. The German chemicals giant stated that the divestment of its shares in the joint ventures with Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry was primarily motivated by high carbon dioxide emissions and market competition for the chemical intermediate 1,4-butanediol (BDO).
"Recently published reports about the joint venture partner contain serious allegations of activities that are inconsistent with BASF's values. As a result, BASF will accelerate the ongoing process of divesting its shares," the company said in a statement.
It also stated that its audits found no evidence of human rights violations at the two joint ventures, and that no employees were involved in such violations.
Beijing has repeatedly denied human rights violations in Xinjiang. Xinjiang Markor did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of Chinese business hours.
Earlier this year, German broadcaster ZDF and Spiegel magazine revealed that Xinjiang Markor employees were involved in state surveillance of Uyghurs in the region. In September, the United States restricted imports from its parent company, the Xinjiang Zhongtai Group, citing Uyghur minority-related business practices.