Mexico issued recently a resolution establishing a process for prohibiting imports of specific goods found to be made with forced labor. The U.S. has banned such imports for decades and Canada implemented a similar ban in July 2020.
Under this resolution, which will take effect in May, Mexican citizens or entities established in Mexico may submit petitions to prohibit imports of specific goods on the grounds that they are made with forced labor. The Mexican government may also self-initiate investigations.
Upon accepting a petition, Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare may seek confirming information from foreign governments or undertake its own investigation. If there is enough evidence to start an investigation, the ministry will inform the importer of the goods under review and allow it to submit relevant information.
A final decision is due within six months of the petition being filed, though that deadline may be extended for an additional six months. If forced labor is found, an import ban will be effective 90 days after that decision is published in the Diario Oficial. If not, the petitioner can submit a new petition with additional evidence.
Mexico has apparently issued the resolution to comply with a requirement in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement for each party to prohibit the importation of goods into its territory that are produced in whole or in part by forced or compulsory labor, including forced or compulsory child labor.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said that in light of this “important step” the three USMCA partners “will work more closely together to eliminate forced labor from global supply chains and tackle transshipment.”
House Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal, D-Mass., praised Mexico’s action and added that the committee’s Democrats “expect all of our trading partners to hold themselves to the same [forced labor] standards” as those in the USMCA, though there does not currently appear to be a means for the U.S. to enforce such an approach.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg has a robust program to assist companies on forced labor issues. ST&R also maintains a frequently updated web page offering a broad range of information on forced labor-related efforts in the U.S. and around the world. For more information, please contact ST&R at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2023 Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.; WorldTrade Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved.