Background

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued five new withhold release orders requiring the detention at all U.S. ports of entry of the following products.

- all products made with labor from the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (dated Aug. 25)

- hair products made in the Lop County Hair Product Industrial Park in XUAR (dated Aug. 25)

- apparel produced by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co. Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co. Ltd in XUAR (dated Sept. 3)

- cotton produced and processed by Xinjiang Junggar Cotton and Linen Co. Ltd. in XUAR (dated Sept. 8)

- computer parts made by Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co. Ltd. in Anhui, China (dated Sept. 8)

These orders were based on information that reasonably indicates the use of prison and/or forced labor, including highly coercive/unfree recruitment, work and life under duress, restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive working and living conditions.

Importers of detained shipments will have an opportunity to export their shipments or submit proof to CBP that the items were not produced with forced and/or prison labor.

For more information on this or other WROs and how they may affect your business, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson or Elise Shibles.

19 USC 1307 prohibits the importation of goods mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. Such goods are subject to exclusion and/or seizure and may lead to criminal investigation of the importer. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 eliminated the consumptive demand clause, which allowed entry of certain forced labor-produced goods if they were not produced domestically in such quantities as to meet consumptive demands.

When information reasonably but not conclusively indicates that goods within the purview of 19 USC 1307 are being imported, CBP may issue withhold release orders. CBP has said that it acts on information concerning specific manufacturers, exporters, and goods and does not generally target entire product lines or industries in problematic countries or regions. CBP also does not generally publicize specific detentions, re-exportations, exclusions, or seizures that may have resulted from its WROs or findings.

CBP encourages stakeholders to closely examine their supply chains to ensure their imported goods are not mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or in part, with prohibited forms of labor; i.e., slave, convict, forced child, or indentured labor. A list of all CBP WROs and findings is available here.

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