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Companies are facing increasing threats to supply chain resiliency as enforcement of the prohibition of importating goods mined, produced or manufactured by forced labor is on the rise. This page gathers together information and resources on preventing forced labor in your supply chain and moving toward supply chain transparency "from earth to hearth."
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U.S. Forced Labor Enforcement Activity By Country
The US is taking a whole-government approach to addressing the human rights violations occurring in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with respect to the Uyghur and other ethnic minorities. While diplomatic channels remain open, the US Government and Congress have taken several actions to prevent the importation of goods that may be made in whole or in part using forced labor in accordance with Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930.
Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act effectively deems all goods mined, produced, or manufactured in the XUAR to be produced by forced labor in China. Even those not importing directly from China may have goods detained if the materials used to produce the imported goods in a second country are tied at any level to XUAR or specific entities or commodities associated with forced labor in China. Companies need to use the next 180 days to ensure their supply chains do not include such goods.
- Federal Register Notice of Public Hearing on the Use of Forced Labor in the People's Republic of China and Measures to Prevent the Importation of Goods Produced, Mined, or Manufactured, Wholly or in Part, with Forced Labor in the People's Republic of China into the United States (March 18, 2022)
- Financing & Genocide: Development Finance and the Crisis in the Uyghur Region (February 2022)
This report by Sheffield Hallam University identifies certain clients of the World Bank's International Finance Corporation as active participants in the human rights violations taking place in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.
- Federal Register Notice Seeking Public Comments on Method To Prevent the Importation of Goods Mined, Produced, or Manufactured With Forced Labor in the People's Republic of China, Especially in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Into the United States (January 24, 2022)
- DHS Advances Biden-Harris Efforts to Stop Flow of Goods Produced by Forced Labor (January 24, 2022)
- US Department of Homeland Security Fact Sheet on Criminal Authorities for Enforcing Against Forced Labor in China (July 30, 2021)
- Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory - joint notice from US Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security, Labor, and the Office of the US Trade Representative (July 12, 2021 - updates the July 1, 2020 notice)
- Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory - joint notice from US Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce & Homeland Security (July 1, 2020 - updated by above July 12, 2021 notice)
On November 10, 2021, the US Departments of State, Treasury and Commerce issued a joint advisory to US companies that conduct business in Cambodia in key sectors or with certain high risk entities. This advisory addresses the following primary areas of risk exposure for US companies:
- Illicit finance activities in Cambodia and related risks for the financial, real estate, casino, and infrastructure sectors.
- Involvement with Cambodian entities involved in trafficking in persons, wildlife, and narcotics in Cambodia and related risks for the manufacturing and timber sectors.
- Child exploitation, subject to forced labor in brickmaking, rubber plantations, construction and entertainment venues.
On January 26, 2022, a joint agency including the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Labor, Homeland Security and the USTR issued an advisory to US companies doing business in Burma and specifially with the military or associated companis. Additionally, businesses and individuals should be wary of the associated illicit finance risks as well as reputational and legal risks of conducting business in and utilizing supply chains under military control in Burma. The specific entities and sectors of greatest concern within Burma include:
- State-owned enterprises
- Gems and precious metals
- Real estate and construction projects
- Arms, military equipment, and related activity
- A number of goods imported from Burma into the US, including bamboo, beans (green, soy, yellow), bricks, garments, jade, palm thatch, rice, rubber, rubies, sesame, shrimp, sugarcane, sunflowers, and teak, have been tied to labor abuses including child and forced labor
CAATSA Section 321 creates a rebuttable presumption that North Korean workers are forced to labor.
Government Information & Documents
U.S. State Regulations Impacting the Industry
The New York State Assembly is considering a bill introduced October 20, 2021 targeted at apparel and footwear retailers requiring they map at least half of their supply chains, disclose their environmental and social impacts and set binding science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Companies will be required to release the annual volume of materials produced by type (ex: cotton, polyester, etc.) and their median pay to workers measured against local minimum and living wages. The bill will apply to all retail operators that make at least $100 million in revenue and conduct business in New York. The bill has not yet been passed.
The Washington state legislature introduced an act requiring fashion retail sellers and manufacturers to disclose environmental and social due diligence policies. The bill has not yet been passed.
Latest News From the ST&R Trade Report
Worldwide Actions to Prevent Forced Labor
Below, find actions taken worldwide to limit forced labor in the Xinjiang region. This list is not exhaustive.