Following a Jan. 30 virtual meeting with the National Council of Textile Organizations, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has directed U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations to “provide him with a comprehensive enforcement action plan in 30 days, including a determination whether current trade law provides adequate authorities to solve the core issues.”

NCTO members argued at the meeting that unscrupulous individuals and entities have created an unfair market by circumventing the operation of U.S. free trade agreements, violating the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and exploiting the de minimis provision in U.S. law that allows for the informal entry of shipments valued at less than $800. These concerns were also voiced in a recent letter to Mayorkas by House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party Chair Mike Gallagher and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi.

In response, CBP, HSI, and other relevant DHS agencies and offices will increase and expedite their work in prosecuting illegal customs practices that harm the U.S. textile industry, according to the DHS readout of the meeting. Efforts are already underway by CBP to increase enforcement, including by using traditional methods like physical inspections, testing and analysis by CBP laboratories, textile production verification visits, and audits. According to the readout, CBP is also increasing its capability and capacity for isotopic testing of imported goods suspected of forced labor violations.

Moreover, as chair of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force DHS continues to work in collaboration with other agencies and the private sector to expand the UFLPA Entity List. Mayorkas asserted that DHS “will use all the tools at its disposal, including identifying suspicious transshipment practices, publicly identifying bad actors, isotopic testing, random parcel inspections, and other law enforcement efforts, in order to protect the integrity of our markets, hold perpetrators accountable, and safeguard the American textile industry.”

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