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Update: Forced Labour – awareness of supply chain important for importers

Home News Update: Forced Labour – awareness of supply chain important for importers

Withhold Release Orders (WRO’s) may be issued by CPB – denying goods entry to the U.S.

Importers are reminded that goods produced using Forced Labour risk being denied entry into the U.S.

Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1307) prohibits the importation of goods into the U.S that are made wholly or in part by forced labor, which includes convict labor, indentured labor, and forced or indentured child labor.

Under the legal provision, goods manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict or forced labor are not be entitled entry at any of the ports of the United States, and the importation of such goods is  prohibited. Further, the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to prescribe regulations as may be necessary for the enforcement of this provision.

There are developments with respect to this issue on a regular basis, almost weekly, and compliance expectations are constantly changing.  The issue is being driven by the U.S. Congress, NGO’s and other stakeholders and has resulted in enhanced enforcement by CBP in the U.S.

Other consequences include delay or seizure of the goods, penalties, and reputational harm.

Forced Labor is the next compliance frontier, particularly with respect to textiles and apparel, and is likely to be the largest challenge for importers in the near future.

For example, CBP is conducting importer surveys of supply chain practices, including

Forced Labor Audits, which are very detailed. CBP may ask for a supply chain map, and whether the company has a social compliance policy. Goods sit while the review is undertaken.

For more information on responsible business practices with respect to Forced Labor, visit this link.

Importers are encouraged to prepare, and stay informed

Source:    Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

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