Background

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has authorized port directors to seize, and commence forfeiture proceedings against, certain disposable gloves mined, produced, or manufactured in Malaysia by Top Glove Corporation Bhd with the use of convict, forced, or indentured labor. CBP has determined that there is sufficient evidence to support the finding that Top Glove is manufacturing disposable gloves with forced labor and that such merchandise is likely being imported into the U.S. CBP issued a withhold release order against such goods in July 2020.

CBP’s finding covers disposable gloves classified under HTSUS 3926.20.1020, 4015.11.0150, 4015.19.0510, 4015.19.0550, 4015.19.1010, 4015.19.1050, and 4015.19.5000, that are mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by Top Glove. The finding applies to any subject goods that (1) are imported on or after March 29 or (2) have already been imported but were not released from CBP custody before March 29.

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 a provision that 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 will then detain such goods for an admissibility determination and exclude them unless the importer demonstrates that they were not made using forced labor. The importer may also export the goods.

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.

Companies in all industries are being encouraged to conduct reviews of their supply chains as international scrutiny of the use of forced labor intensifies. Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg offers a comprehensive suite of services to help companies address forced labor concerns, including supply chain reviews, due diligence strategies, and proactive remediation. For more information, please contact Amanda Levitt (at (212) 549-0148) or via email), David Olave (at (202) 730-4960 or via email), or Nicole Bivens Collinson (at (202) 730-4956 or via email).

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