Zimbabwe claims CBP’s accusation of use of forced labor in their diamond mine is a “shameless lie”.

photo of diamond ring

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Earlier this week, I blogged about CBP’s issuance of a Withhold Release Order (WRO) that allows CBP to seize products produced “in whole or in part using forced labor”.

One of the products subject to detention are “Rough diamonds from the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe; mined from forced labor.

Earlier today, moneyweb.co.za (a Zimbabwe financial web publication) accused the US of lying about diamond mining at the Marange Diamond Fields using forced labor – calling the claim a “shameless lie”.

In support of their claim, the article cites the Kimberley Process (steps that are taken to ensure diamond mining isn’t used to fund conflicts) finding that there are no restrictions on trade in Zimbabwean diamonds. The Kimberley Process represents 81 countries and covers 99.8% of the global rough diamond production.

Zimbabwe’s deputy mines minister, Polite Kambamura is quoted as saying the “doors are open” if CBP wants to visit Marange and that “we are a responsible state miner that operates within the laws of the country and we observe strict adherence to critical tenets of corporate governance”.

Like Marange in Zimbabwe, if you feel your company has been wrongly placed on CBP’s WRO list, contact experienced customs and trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP issues detention orders against companies who may have used forced labor.

woman in black shirt and green latex gloves

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release, CBP issued 5 Withhold Release Orders (WROs) covering different products imported from different countries. WRO’s are also detention orders and allow CBP to seize products that are produced in whole or in part using forced labor.

The detention orders are part of a US law that makes it illegal to import goods to the US that are made “wholly or in part by forced labor”.  Forced labor covers convict labor, indentured labor and child labor.

The press release did not specify how CBP was made aware of the allegations of forced labor, but typically investigations may be started by news reports and tips from either the public or trade community.

According to the press release, the following WROs are effective immediately:

Garments produced by Hetian Taida Apparel Co., Ltd. in Xinjiang, China; produced with prison or forced labor.
Disposable rubber gloves produced in Malaysia by WRP Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd.; produced with forced labor.
Gold mined in artisanal small mines (ASM) in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); mined from forced labor.
Rough diamonds from the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe; mined from forced labor.
Bone black manufactured in Brazil by Bonechar Carvão Ativado Do Brasil Ltda; produced with forced labor.

If you are an importer and have had your items seized on suspicion of being wholly or in part produced by forced labor – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu. We assist importers in re-exporting the shipment or submitting information to counter CBP’s claims – call/text 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP issues new withhold release order against cotton from Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan-map

Map of Turkmenistan from Wikipedia.

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a new withhold release order for goods suspected of being made by forced labor.

This time, a detention order (withhold release order) was issued against cotton from Turkmenistan. The May 18, 2018 WRO includes “all Turkmenistan Cotton or products produced in whole or in part with Turkmenistan cotton”.

Importers are expected by CBP to be informed whether the goods they import are subjec to WRO’s. A full list of current imports subject to WRO’s can be found here.

Background regarding CBP’s efforts against forced labor:
Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1307) bans the importing of merchandise that is mined, produced or manufactured, in whole or in part, in any foreign country by forced labor/child labor. Such merchandise is subject to seizure or excluded from importation into the US.

When information reasonably but not conclusively indicates that subject merchandise is being imported, Customs may issue withhold release orders pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 12.42(e). If the Commissioner is provided with information sufficient to make a determination that the goods in question are subject to the provisions of 19 U.S.C. § 1307, the Commissioner will publish a formal finding in the Customs Bulletin and in the Federal Register.

A withhold release order will require detention at all US ports of entry of any such merchandise manufactured by these companies. Withhold release orders are usually issued against types of goods and specific producers from specific countries.

If you have had issues regarding importation of good subject to a withhold release order, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.