U.S. Customs and Border Protection is focused on enforcing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and is already seeing significant results.
The UFLPA establishes a rebuttable presumption that goods made wholly or in part in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are made with forced labor and excluded from entry into the U.S. All businesses with products whose supply chains include Chinese materials should understand both CBP’s importer guidance and the related enforcement strategy and ensure that they are being implemented into their business operations. Even companies not importing directly from China may have goods detained if the materials used to produce those goods in a second country are tied at any level to the XUAR or specific entities or commodities associated with forced labor in China.
CBP has now begun reporting on UFLPA- and other forced labor-related enforcement actions in its monthly operational update. CBP states that in August it targeted 838 entries valued at more than $266.5 million for suspected use of forced labor in the production of imported goods, including goods subject to the UFLPA and withhold release orders.
These figures reflect that, as Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force chair Robert Silvers recently told The Wall Street Journal, “forced labor is now a top-tier compliance issue.” In recent years “things like anticorruption and sanctions compliance have come to be standard pillars of corporate compliance,” Silvers said, and “forced labor needs to be one of those pillars as well.”
While CBP is enforcing the UFLPA, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is developing its first-ever focused trade strategy to combat forced labor and is currently considering comments received over the summer. Click here to learn more about the status of this effort.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg offers a comprehensive suite of services to help companies address forced labor concerns in China and elsewhere, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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