A House committee is urging the Biden administration to strengthen enforcement of a forced labor law targeting imports from China, including by stepping up scrutiny of shipments from other countries.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection to presume that all goods manufactured wholly or in part in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are made with forced labor and therefore prohibited from entry into the U.S. The UFLPA specifies tomatoes, cotton, and polysilicon as high-priority sectors for UFLPA enforcement, and products from aluminum to batteries to tires have been added as sectors of concern since the law’s enactment.

However, in a Jan. 17 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the leaders of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party said they “remain deeply concerned” that imports of goods prohibited under the UFLPA “continue to find their way into American households.”

The lawmakers said one of the ways DHS could improve its enforcement is by expanding the UFLPA Entity List to include companies and entities located outside the XUAR because of their affiliation with companies and entities in that region, particularly those involved in the seafood, gold, and critical minerals industries. CBP applies the UFLPA’s rebuttable presumption to goods mined, produced, or manufactured by entities on this list (which currently number about 40), which are thus prohibited from importation into the U.S.

But the letter said DHS should expand its enforcement efforts beyond China as well, noting “Beijing’s increased transshipment of forced labor products to the United States through third countries, including U.S. free trade agreement partners.” Recommended measures include adding companies outside China that profit from the use of Uyghur forced labor to the UFLPA Entity List; exponentially increasing the testing of goods at U.S. ports of entry for UFLPA violations, including by expanding the use of isotopic and other testing; and better publicizing CBP’s enforcement activities to deter would-be violators. The letter also called on CBP to increase its on-site inspections of production sites in CAFTA-DR and USMCA countries to conduct rule of origin verification investigations, “which have plummeted in recent years despite a massive influx of yarns and fabrics from [China] into the region.”

The letter also reiterated complaints that the so-called de minimis provision, which allows for the informal entry of shipments valued at less than $800, makes UFLPA enforcement more difficult. It therefore asked the DHS to assess whether limiting or suspending de minimis eligibility for textiles and apparel and other high-risk items would aid enforcement efforts.

Other steps the lawmakers recommended that DHS take include enlisting the help of the Department of Commerce and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to identify suspicious global trade patterns and working with the Department of Justice’s Trade Fraud Task Force to increase criminal prosecutions of “persons profiting off the use of Uyghur forced labor.”

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg offers a comprehensive suite of services to help companies address forced labor concerns around the world, including supply chain reviews, due diligence strategies, and proactive remediation. 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

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