Forced Labor

DHS Announces New High Priority Sectors for UFLPA Enforcement

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) released an update to the Strategy to Prevent the Importation of Goods Mined, Produced, or Manufactured with Forced Labor in the People’s Republic of China.

Strategy Background

DHS released the first publication of the UFLPA Strategy in June 2022. The strategy outlines a multi-pronged approach to combating forced labor in global supply chains.The strategy includes a comprehensive assessment of the risk of importing goods with forced labor in the PRC, high priority sectors for enforcement, guidance to importers, recommendations to accurately identify affected goods, and more. DHS released the first update to the publication in August of 2023.

The Latest Update  

The update builds on two years of the Administration’s enforcement of the UFLPA. The latest strategy identified new high priority sectors for enforcement – aluminum, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and seafood. These industries were identified due to higher risk of forced labor or state labor transfer of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Entities in these sectors will now be prioritized for review for enforcement actions such as inclusion on the UFLPA Entity List, sanctions, export limitations, and visa restrictions.

Other products previously identified as high priority such as apparel, cotton and cotton products, silica-based products including polysilicon, and tomatoes remain high priority sectors.

The latest updates also outline how the FLETF has significantly advanced their objectives through several initiatives, such as strong enforcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); expansion of the UFLPA Entity List; […]

UFLPA Enforcement Update

At CBP’s 2024 Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit (“the Summit”) this week, panelists shared some pending developments in Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) enforcement. The UFLPA establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or in part, in the Xinjiang region of China, or produced by an entity on the UFLPA Entity List, is prohibited under U.S. forced labor law.

Panelists indicated that “more than 10” new entities would be placed on the Entity List in the coming months. The government has received criticism regarding the relatively low number of entities on the Entity List since the UFLPA was enacted in June 2022. While “more than 10” is still a relatively low number, given that the current Entity List is comprised of just 30 entities, ten-plus new entities would represent a significant increase.

Panelists also announced that new high-priority sectors for UFLPA enforcement would be identified in the near future. Currently, only cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon are officially listed as high-priority sectors. Panelists re-affirmed that the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (“FLETF”) – an interagency team led by the Department of Homeland Security – uses reports from Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), reporting from journalists, letters from Congress, and other sources to identify additional potential high-priority sectors. Panelists also appeared to agree that polyvinyl chloride (“PVC”), fish, and aluminum – sectors that have recently been tied to Uyghur forced labor in NGO and media reporting – were likely candidates for designation as high-priority […]

Know Your Supply Chain: Forced Labor 

The production of goods using forced labor remains an issue around the world. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has made clear that they will continue to prioritize forced labor enforcement. CBP is the only U.S. government agency, and one of the few in the world, with the legal authority to take action against goods produced with forced labor to prevent entry into domestic commerce. 

What is Forced Labor? 

Forced labor is defined under 19 U.S.C. § 1307 as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace [threat] of any penalty for its non-performance and for which the worker does not offer himself voluntarily.”  Forced Labor is the third most lucrative illicit trade, behind only drugs and weapons, and has an annual trade value of roughly $150 billion 

Right now, over 40 million people around the world are victims of some type of forced labor, including modern slavery, human trafficking, child labor, etc. Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307) prohibits the importation of all goods and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by forced labor, convict labor, and/or indentured labor under penal sanctions, including forced child labor. 

CBP is responsible for preventing the entry of products made with forced labor into the U.S. market by investigating and acting upon allegations of […]

DHS Adds Ninestar Co. And Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co. to the UFLPA Entity List

Last week, the interagency Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), added the following two People’s Republic of China (PRC)-based companies to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List: Ninestar Co. and Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co. DHS found that the companies engaged in business practices that target members of persecuted groups, including Uyghur minorities. Goods produced by the companies  will be restricted from entering the United States.

UFLPA Background

On December 23, 2021, President Biden signed into law H.R. 6256, as part of the United States’ commitment and deterrence efforts to secure U.S. supply chains from goods produced by forced labor. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act  (UFLPA) (H.R. 6256) requires CBP to apply a rebuttable presumption that all imports of goods, wares, articles, and merchandise manufactured wholly or in part from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China, or by entities identified by the U.S. government on the UFLPA Entity List, are presumed to be produced with forced labor and are prohibited from entry into the United States.

This presumption applies to all goods made in, or shipped through, other countries that include parts made in Xinjiang. However, this presumption is rebuttable. To rebut this presumption, the importer of record will need to provide to CBP clear and convincing evidence that the goods were NOT produced using forced labor.

DHS Making Progress, Some Say Not Enough

While the announcement was applauded by some, other groups expressed […]

Summary of CBP’s March 2023 Forced Labor Technical Expo

Summary of CBP’s March 2023 Forced Labor Technical Expo 

CBP held a Forced Labor Technical Expo from March 14-15, comprised of experts and service providers highlighting tools to utilize for supply chain transparency to comply with The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) and the general “reasonable care” obligations of U.S. importers. UFLPA was signed into law December 31, 2021, and seeks to prohibit imports of certain goods from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where it has been reported that the Chinese government is using forced labor of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minorities in detention camps and factories. For more information about the UFLPA, please see our previous blog articles here and here.  

CBP Data Dashboard  

CBP launched a UFLPA data dashboard where the trade community can now monitor forced labor enforcement by origin, commodity, CBP Center of Excellence and Expertise, and more. See the screenshot of the new dashboard below and note that the countries of export most targeted are NOT China, contrary to popular belief. This is partly due to the fact that most UFLPA enforcement to date has been on solar panels, which may include Chinese-origin raw materials but are generally further manufactured outside of China. Notably, CBP is actively tracking many different types of products across many different industries with raw materials that originate in China and that are further manufactured in other countries for forced labor enforcement. […]

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