Detention order on seafood harvested with forced labor.

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As of yesterday (August 18th), at all of the over 450 U.S. ports of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will detain any seafood harvested by the vessel named “Da Wang”, a Vanuatu-flagged, Taiwan-owned water fishing vessel.

CBP’s Office of Trade (OT) issued the Withhold Release Order (WRO) against the Da Wang due to reasonable indications they used forced labor, physical violence, debt bondage, withholding of wages, and abusive working conditions.

If you believe part of your supply chain will be impacted by this WRO, or any of the other pending WRO’s – contact David Hsu by phone or text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. §1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. This WRO will require detention of seafood harvested by the Da Wang at all U.S. ports of entry. Importers of detained shipments will have an opportunity to export their shipments or submit proof to CBP that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

This is the twelfth WRO that CBP has issued since September 2019, and the second against a fishing vessel. All WROs are publically available and listed by country on the CBP’s Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings page. The Forced Labor Division, established in 2017 within the CBP Office of Trade, leads enforcement of the prohibition on the importation of goods made from forced labor.

CBP is committed to identifying and preventing products made by forced labor from entering the United States to maintain a level playing field for U.S. domestic industry. CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including from the general public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the U.S. can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.

Follow CBP Office of Trade on Twitter @CBPTradeGov.

Tobacco from Malawi’s Alliance One International no longer subject to withhold release order.

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Earlier today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) changed a withhold release order (WRO) to allow tobacco from Malawi’s Alliance One International, LLC.

What is a withhold release order (WRO)?
A WRO is used by CBP to prevent the importation of goods from companies with a reasonable suspicion of being produced using forced labor.

How do you cancel a WRO?
CBP will require an audit of the company to cancel a WRO. In the instant article, Alliance One International’s social compliance program was likely evaluated and found by Customs to minimize the risks of forced labor from the supply chain. Alliance One likely had to demonstrate to CBP the the tobacco produced and harvested from their farms does not use forced labor.

Does this impact the other tobacco growers on Malawi?
No, the WRO will continue to apply to imports of tobacco from Malawi by any other company that has not demonstrated to CBP there is no forced labor in its supply chain.

Can you tell me more about a WRO?
The WRO was born out of Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307. This statute prohibits importation of merchandise mined, manufactured or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor and indentured labor.

If you are an exporter subject to a WRO, and would like the WRO to be removed, contact attorney David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Follow CBP Office of Trade on Twitter @CBPTradeGov.

CBP revoke withhold release order (WRO) on disposable rubber gloves.

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Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release, yesterday, CBP revoked a Withhold Release Order (WRO) for rubber gloves imported by WRP Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd.

Briefly, a WRO is issued by CBP and intended to prevent goods suspected to have been made with forced labor or in violation of labor standards from entering the US.

The WRO, which was initially put in place last September and revoked recently because CBP obtained information demonstrating the company no longer produces rubber gloves under forced labor conditions. The process to revoke a WRO required CBP becoming involved with the manufacturing and labor practices to ensure WRP complied with international and US labor standards.

While the media release made no mention of the corona virus, it is unusual to see a media release singling out a revocation of a withhold release order, especially a WRO on PPE goods  such as disposable rubber gloves.

If you are subject to a WRO and want to explore your options, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP issues detention order against Tunago No. 61.

close up photo of sushi served on table

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

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.