Tobacco from Malawi subject to detention by US Customs.

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Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a withhold release order on tobacco from the southeast African country of Malawi and other products that contain tobacco from Malawi.
A withhold release order (WRO) means any products from Malawi containing tobacco will be detained by CBP at all of the ports of entry. A WRO was issued after information was collected by CBP that indicates tobacco from Malawi is produced using forced labor and forced child labor.
Many believe a WRO means you cannot import tobacco from Malawi – however, an WRO still allows for importation of tobacco, but importers need to provide documentation that their tobacco and tobacco containing products do not include tobacco from Malwai that was produced using child labor or other prohibitions under US law. 
This most recent WRO is just one of 7 previously issued by CBP this year to prevent the importation of products made using forced labor (which includes convict labor, forced child labor or indentured labor).
If you believe your goods have been wrongly seized by a WRO, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance – we have helped many importers and can be reached 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.

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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.

U.S. may ban cocoa imports from Ivory Coast due to potential use of child labor.

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Last week, Ivory Coast’s First Lady and US officials met to discuss a proposed US ban on Ivory Coast cocoa. Ivory coast is the world’s largest supplier of cooca (supplying 1/3 of all the world’s cocoa supply) and the Ivory Coast government is fighting every effort to block Ivorian cocoa from entering US ports.

The use of forced child labor to harvest cocoa has been an issue many chocolate wholesalers such as Mars, Nestle and Hershey have tried to eliminate, mostly through efforts such as monitoring supply chains and certification by third-party monitors. However, the recent report by two US Senators includes evidence of continued use of forced labor and the Washington Post reported earlier in June that 2 million children work in West African cocoa farms.

The Senators believe a new ban would further increase pressure on cocoa farmers and Customs officials are authorized to ban all products from entering the US if evidence indicates the products are or reasonably indicate they are produced with forced or indentured labor.

Will post more if the ban goes through, and if you want to avoid your company facing a ban due to any future customs issues, contact experienced trade and compliance attorney David Hsu, we can audit the supply chain process prior to importation to ensure compliance, call 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP issues detention order against Tunago No. 61.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP issued a withhold release order against tuna and tuna products from the Tunago No. 61. The basis for the withhold order is information obtained by CBP indicating tuna is harvested with the use of forced labor.

The order is effective immediately starting on the date of issuance – February 6, 2019.

What is a detention order?
Detention orders require detention of entry of tuna and any such merchandise manufactured wholly or in part by the Tunago No. 61. Importers of detained shipments are provided an opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

What is the law on forced labor?
19 U.S.C. § 1307 prohibits the importation into the US of goods made, in whole or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. If CBP believes forced labor was used, CBP will issue a “withhold release order”. Most of the orders are a result of information presented to CBP that “reasonably indicates” the imported goods were made with forced labor.

If you have received a notice or are being investigated by CBP for use of forced labor, call experienced trade and customs attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.