UK lawmakers raise concerns over Shein's suitability for London IPO

Senior British lawmakers, including the chairs of three parliamentary committees, have raised questions about fast-fashion giant Shein's suitability for a London stock market listing and called for greater scrutiny of the Chinese-founded firm.

The firm, known for its ultra-fast fashion, has faced criticism from US lawmakers over alleged labour malpractices, lawsuits from competitors, and the use of an import tax exemption. It is ramping up preparations for a London listing after its attempt to float in New York faced regulatory hurdles and pushback from US lawmakers.

British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt held talks with Shein's Executive Chairman Donald Tang in February, and the firm is keen to list in London. Britain is eager to attract more listings after losing out on some high-profile flotations to other financial centres.

However, Alicia Kearns, the Conservative chair of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said Shein should not be permitted to list in London. She said, as reported by The Guardian: "With Shein's prices so low, the London Stock Exchange needs to ask itself, whose suffering is subsidising those prices."

Sarah Champion, the Labour chair of the International Development Committee, expressed serious concerns about Shein's labour practices. "No company using modern slavery should be listed in London. Unless the allegations around Shein are addressed, we should not support their application," she said.

A Shein spokesperson said: "Shein is investing millions of pounds in strengthening governance and compliance across our supply chain."

Liam Byrne, the Labour chair of the Business and Trade Committee, expressed concern that parliament's dissolution for a 4 July general election meant Shein's initial public offering might not receive necessary scrutiny.

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Uyghurs, also called for a closer examination of Shein.

The Shein spokesperson added: "As a global company serving customers across more than 150 countries, we believe it is healthy to attract scrutiny and transparency, and we want to be held to the highest standards."

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