As a newly independent nation, Global Britain is working with like-minded democracies for a better world. Together, we are standing up for the rules-based order against the state-sponsored undermining of free enterprise and human rights. That means we cannot, and will not, turn a blind eye to the scourge of modern slavery anywhere in the world.
As the Foreign Secretary set out on Tuesday in the House of Commons, the evidence of the scale and severity of the human rights violations being perpetrated in China's region of Xinjiang against Uighur Muslims is now wide-ranging and well-documented.
Reports of forced labour in the cotton industry have chilling echoes of an era we believed had passed. Most of China's cotton comes from this region, and is Xinjiang's biggest export and a big part of its $17.6 billion (£12.8 billion) worth of total exports.
This taints supply chains all the way from picking and harvesting, to processing, milling, and manufacturing.
We have a responsibility not to fuel the violations going on in Xinjiang.
That is why we are supporting businesses to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains, in order to make these practices unviable.
Many companies go to great lengths to uphold their environmental, social and governance standards within the UK, but their efforts must not be restricted to this country.
Businesses cannot ignore the moral, reputational, legal, and economic risks that come with any links, however indirect, to Xinjiang. Many companies have already taken welcome steps, with the likes of Marks & Spencer, Next and Tesco banning the use of cotton from Xinjiang. And many are already conducting due diligence where their supply chains have links to the region.
We want to work with businesses to restore faith in free trade, and give consumers confidence that companies are operating their supply chains in a way that rejects human rights abuses and modern slavery.
From Wednesday, we are updating our "Overseas Business Risk" guidance to provide more detail on the specific risks facing businesses of supporting, abetting and even inadvertently financing the human rights violations taking place in Xinjiang.
Those engaging in joint-research and development activities in the fields of surveillance, biometrics, or tracking technology in the region are taking on an even greater reputational, economic and legal risk.
Our new guidance will encourage more ethical alternative supply chains, while emphasising the practical challenges in carrying out due diligence effectively in Xinjiang.
We are also announcing a review into export controls applying to Xinjiang to ensure that items which could contribute to these gross violations of human rights are prevented, by law, from being exported to this region and into the hands of the perpetrators.
I will report back to Parliament on this in due course.
We are proud to have passed the landmark Modern Slavery Act in 2015, which made us the first country in the world to legally oblige companies with a turnover of £36 million or more to make clear their steps to ensure nothing they are doing is supporting slavery and human trafficking.
We are also going further and will legislate to introduce financial penalties for businesses who fail to publish annual modern slavery statements, as per their statutory obligations under the Modern Slavery Act. Global Britain is taking the lead internationally alongside an ever-growing list of like-minded democracies against the despicable abuses going on in Xinjiang.
Some 38 countries joined the UK in pressing China to address our shared concerns at the UN last October.
We have called out these gross violations of human rights. And we are determined to work together to ensure China abides by its international obligations.
But as willing as some of us are to call out these abuses, nothing will change if governments and corporations continue to turn a blind eye to what is going on for the sake of cheaper goods.
Our aim, as my colleague Dominic Raab said yesterday, is to make sure that no company that profits from forced labour in Xinjiang can do business in the UK, and that no UK business is involved in their supply chains.
We want a positive and constructive relationship with China. But we will not sacrifice our values in doing so.