CAATSA enforcement blocks imports made from forced labor – are you at risk?

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release – CBP officers prohibited the entry of products made in whole or in part by North Korean nationals under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The CAATSA blocks the entry of goods that are suspected of being mined, produced, or manufactured by North Korean citizens – whether they are in North Korea or elsewhere in the world. An importer with goods denied entry under CAATSA must prove by “clear and convincing” evidence the goods were not made with forced labor.

According to the CBP media release, CBP will now detain merchandise from sporting goods manufacturer Li-Ning. Li-Ning and any other importer with seized goods will then have 30-days to provide evidence that the merchandise was not made from convict, forced or indentured labor.

If you have received a CAATSA notice or any other notice from CBP related to forced labor – contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, DH@GJATradeLaw.com.

If you do not have an import compliance program – David Hsu can also assist – don’t wait, call today to be sure you are in compliance with the CAATSA and the other alphabet soup of government regulations for importers.

CBP seizes palm oil due to forced labor findings.

Image of seized palm oil. Source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized shipments of palm oil in due to information that the palm oil was manufactured by forced labor. The shipments valued at $2.5 million consisted of super packs of palmitic acid. Super packs are large flexible durable bags used to ship grain, sand, coffee beans and powdery substances.

The seized palmitic acid is a type of palm oil that has been refined into a powder and used in manufacture of food, drinks, skin and health care goods.

The seizure of palm oil is due to a January 28, 2022 CBP Notice of Finding where CBP determined that certain palm oil and products produced in Malaysia were made using convict, or forced or indentured labor. When CBP determines a good is produced using convict, or forced or indentured labor – the goods are inadmissible under 19 USC 1307 and 19 CFR 12.42.

If you have had your good seized for suspicion of forced labor – contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

I import clothes from China, will the clothes be banned?

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According to Reuters, China’s Ministry of Commerce claims the US’s recent legislation banning imports of goods from the Xinjiang region as “economic bullying”. The Xinjiang region in China is a large manufacturer of cotton and solar panels and last week’s signing of the import ban will heavily impact US imports of clothing from China.

If you are an importer of any type of clothing or goods made from cotton shipped from China, you may be wondering whether the ban will impact you.

The short answer is: YES.

While the ban specifically mentions the Xinjiang region, enforcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs) will apply to goods manufactured elsewhere in China and shipped to the US. From our experience – Customs will ask importer of records who import textiles to prove the cotton is not from the Xinjiang region.

Good shipped from any port in China will be subject to the same scrutiny and it is important to take action now to limit any Customs delay will have on your import (and your business).

If you are an importer of record, I strongly suggest the following:

  1. Email the manufacturer and ask about the supply chain and sourcing of materials.
  2. Ask your supplier where the cotton is from, is it from Xinjiang?
  3. Ask your supplier for proof and documentation of where they source the cotton.
  4. Ask for something in writing (affidavit/certification/etc.) that you can provide in the event CBP sends a CF-29 or detains/seizes your merchandise.

If you want to get an import compliance manual in place – or have any questions about maintaining import compliance with respect to the most recent ban, or any other import risks – contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, DH@GJATradeLaw.com.

Banned! Cotton from Xinjiang, China.

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In early December, the House and Senate unanimously passed a law banning the importation of products made from China’s Xinjiang region. The bill that passed both houses was signed on December 23rd by President Biden. The new bill requires suppliers to prove their products were not produced using forced labor. As previously posted on this blog – many products such as cotton and solar panels are imported from the Xinjiang region of China. In response, China has denied allegations of forced labor.

If you import any clothing from China, contact our office for a free consultation on how you can avoid any upcoming import compliance issues. Contact David Hsu anytime by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, DH@GJATradeLaw.com.

CBP Officers and Agriculture Specialists seize tomato shipment from company subject to a Withhold Release Order.

Image of the seized tomatoes, source CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at the Pharr International Bridge detained a shipment of tomatoes from the company: Horticola Tom, S.A. de C.V., a company subject to a recent Withhold Release Order. The goods from Horticola Tom are suspected to have been produced using forced labor, and as such are barred from import to the US.

CBP Agriculture Specialists examined a shipment of tomatoes purported to be from a company not affected by recent WRO’s. However, when CBP reviewed the paperwork and compared the packaging of the tomatoes, CBP determined the tomatoes were from the grower, Horticola Tom.

As with all goods subject to a WRO, the tomatoes were re-exported back to Mexico.

If your company is subject to a WRO or your goods have been wrongfully detained, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com to discuss your options moving forward.

US detains solar panel imports due to forced labor concerns.

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Back in June of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection imposed a ban on solar panels from a company called Hoshine Silicon – a producer of raw materials used in the manufacturing of solar panels. The ban was instituted by CBP under the forced labor provisions – in which CBP can block goods believe to have been made using forced labor. Hoshine Silicon operates plants in China’s Xinjiang region and is suspected of using forced labor. Forced labor covers a broad range of actions by the employer and in the case of Hoshine, it is believed they intimidate workers and restrict their movements. Hoshine is also believed to be participating in state-sponsored employment programs targeted towards minorities in the Xinjiang region into factory jobs – forced labor in that there is no choice but to accept the jobs.

Hoshine plays a major role in the manufacturing of solar panels and the raw materials they sell are sold to at least 8 of the largest polysilicon manufacturers, also based in China. The polysilicon is then used to make solar panels. The largest solar manufacturing companies are based in China due to cheap electricity and other low manufacturing costs. Some human rights watchdogs claim the use of forced labor is another factor driving down the prices of Chinese solar panels.

If you have had your goods detained based on suspicion of being manufactured using forced labor – contact David Hsu by phone or text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Forced labor modification for Top Glove Corp. Bhd.

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Back in March of 2021, CBP published a finding of forced labor in the Federal Register for disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove Corporation Bhd. The finding against Top Glove was due to reports of forced labor indicators such as: debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions and retention of identity documents.

A finding of forced labor results in a “Withhold Release Order” (WRO) that instructs CBP to seize shipments of the gloves produced using the forced labor. It is then up to the importer to prove the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

The process a company needs to take involves a request to modify or revoke a finding. Each situation is different, but in general, CBP will modify a WRO or findings if there is enough evidence the subject merchandise is no longer produced or manufactured using forced labor.

In Top Glove’s situation – Top Glove paid $30 million in payments to workers and improved the living and working conditions at the company’s facilities.

If you are subject to a WRO or CBP finding of forced labor, or if you have any compliance concerns to ensure your company is not subject to a WRO or finding of forced labor, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Does my company need a Social Compliance program?

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Yes and Yes. While import and export compliance are the typical programs in place for importers and exporters – one often neglected compliance program importers must have is the social compliance program.

The social compliance program is necessary to ensure compliance with Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, prohibiting the importation of merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured child labor – including forced child labor. Importers who import goods produced with forced labor may have their goods subject to exclusion, detention, seizure and may lead to a criminal investigation.

While many importers are confident their manufacturing supplier is not using forced labor, CBP also goes after importers who are downstream from the actual instance of forced labor. For example, even though you do not purchase goods from a company using forced labor – if the raw materials used in the production of the goods you import are made using forced labor – your goods are subject to detention. Even if the raw materials go through several manufacturers or companies before being incorporated into the final product you import – you as the importer of record are liable for any instances of forced labor at any stage of the supply chain.

A social compliance program is therefore a must to minimize the risk of a Customs detention on the basis of use of forced labor. Not only do importers need a social compliance program in place, they also need to adequately educate and train all key personnel on minimizing the importation of goods produced using forced labor.

If you want to minimize your detention risk of goods subject to a pending Withhold Release Order or have any questions about whether your goods may be subject to detention based on the multitude of outstanding WRO’s in place – call us for your free consultation. Our firm prepares and trains companies on forced labor compliance and are ready to help you. Call David Hsu on his cellphone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes 4.6 million disposable gloves due to forced labor finding.


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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Missouri seized over 4.68 million latex gloves from a subsidiary of Malaysia based Top Glove Corporation Bhd. The seizure valued at $690,000 was due to information provided to CBP the gloves were manufactured using forced labor – a form of modern slavery.

Specifically, CBP issued a forced labor finding – in which they suspect Top Glove’s production process to include debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working conditions, abusive living conditions and the retention of identity documents.

Unfortunately for Top Glove, CBP will continue seizing their goods until Top Glove can prove future glove shipments were not produced using forced labor. In general, forced labor also includes indentured labor, use of convict labor, and child labor.

CBP issued a forced labor finding on March 29 based on evidence of multiple forced labor indicators in Top Glove’s production process, including debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents.

If your company is suspected of using forced labor. contact David Hsu anytime by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com. Forced labor compliance is the new, hot enforcement area for Customs and Border Protection.

If you are an importer, and are concerned about forced labor accusations, contact us also to create your forced labor compliance program.

New Withhold Release Order for Seafood Harvested with Forced Labor

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Effective today, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will detain at all US ports – tuna and other seafood harvested from the “Lien Yi Hsing Number 12”. The vessel is Taiwanese flagged and owned distant water fishing vessel due to reasonable information that indicates the use of forced labor – including but not limited to deception, withholding of wages and debt bondage.

As you are aware, 19 USC 1307 bans the importation of goods that have been mined, manufactured, produced in whole or in part by convict labor, forced labor and or indentured labor. If importers have goods from the Lien Yi Hsing vessel, CBP does allow the detained shipments to be exported or in the alternative, allow importers prove the merchandise was not produced using forced labor.

If you have any questions about this or any other withhold release order, or want to ensure you are in compliance with 19 USC 1307, or if you believe a company benefits from the use of forced labor, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.