A US federal judge has denied the request of Hong Kong’s Esquel group to have trade restrictions on its subsidiary lifted after it was placed on the Commerce Department’s “entity list” for its activities in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

In July Esquel sued the US government after it alleged it had been harmed by the placement of its subsidiary Changji Esquel Textile Co., on the US Entity List, a list of 11 Chinese entities allegedly implicated in human rights abuses in Xinjiang, three of which were textile and garment factories.

Changji Esquel supplies major brands including Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and Patagonia.

The Hong-Kong based textile and apparel manufacturer said the listing falsely implicated Changji Esquel in using forced labour in China’s Xinjiang region, a conclusion that “contradicts the facts, including audits by multiple world-class, third-party independent auditors using internationally recognised industry standards such as the SMETA standard, a widely respected social audit format”.

According to a report in the South China Morning Post, US District Judge Reggie B. Walton in Washington on Wednesday 6 October found that Esquel was not likely to succeed in its case against the department because it failed to show that Commerce had acted beyond its legal authority.

Esquel did not respond to Just Style’s request for comment but according to the SCMP it plans to appeal the decision and move forward with litigation.