CBP issues Withhold Release Order on Malaysian glove producers

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Please see below for the text of CBP’s WRO for disposable gloves produced by Malaysian company – Smart Glove

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Release Date: November 4, 2021

Agency will detain imports of disposable gloves produced using forced labor

WASHINGTON — Effective November 4, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at all U.S. ports of entry will detain disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by a group of companies collectively known as Smart Glove. This group of companies includes Smart Glove Corporation Sdn Bhd, GX Corporation Sdn Bhd, GX3 Specialty Plant, Sigma Glove Industries, and Platinum Glove Industries Sdn Bhd.

“In the past two years, CBP has set an international standard for ensuring that goods made with forced labor do not enter the U.S. commerce,” said Troy Miller, CBP Acting Commissioner. “Manufacturers, like Smart Glove, who fail to abide by our laws will face consequences as we root out this inhumane practice from the U.S. supply chain.” 

CBP issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against disposable gloves produced by Smart Glove based on information that reasonably indicates that Smart Glove production facilities utilize forced labor. CBP identified seven of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) indicators of forced labor during its investigation.

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise produced, wholly or in part, by convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor. CBP detains shipments of goods suspected of being imported in violation of this statute. Importers of detained shipments have the opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

“There is no place for forced labor in today’s world, particularly in U.S. supply chains”, said CBP Office of Trade Executive Assistant Commissioner AnnMarie R. Highsmith. “It undermines not only the U.S. economy but our commitment to upholding human rights throughout the world.”

This is the third WRO CBP has issued in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.  In FY 2021, CBP issued seven WROs and two Findings. The ILO estimates that 25 million workers suffer under conditions of forced labor worldwide. Foreign companies exploit forced labor to sell goods below market value. This exposes vulnerable populations to inhumane working conditions like physical and sexual violence, isolation, restriction of movement, withholding of wages, excessive overtime, and more. It also hurts law-abiding businesses, threatens American jobs, and exposes consumers to unwittingly supporting unethical business practices. 

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If you have any questions about this WRO, or if you are subject to a WRO and want to explore your options – contact David Hsu by phone/text at anytime: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP Issues Withhold Release Order on Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its Subsidiaries.

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See below for the text of the actual CBP media release:

WASHINGTON —Effective Oct. 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at all U.S. ports of entry will detain disposable gloves produced by Supermax Corporation Bhd.’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd., Maxwell Glove Manufacturing Bhd., and Supermax Glove Manufacturing.

“With this Withhold Release Order, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to make clear that products made in whole or in part by forced labor will not be allowed into the United States,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “DHS will continue to set an international standard for the elimination of the deplorable practice of forced labor. We will remove it from American supply chains.”

CBP issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its subsidiaries based on information that reasonably indicates their use of forced labor in manufacturing operations. CBP identified 10 of the International Labour Organization’s indicators of forced labor during its investigation.

“This Withhold Release Order will help protect vulnerable workers,” said Troy Miller, CBP Acting Commissioner. “CBP is a global leader in forced labor enforcement, and we will continue to exclude products made by modern slavery from entering into the United States.”

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise produced, wholly or in part, by convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor. CBP detains shipments of goods suspected of being imported in violation of this statute. Importers of detained shipments have the opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

“With 10 of the 11 forced labor indicators identified during the course of our investigation, CBP has ample evidence to conclude that Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its subsidiaries produce gloves in violation of U.S. trade law,” said CBP Office of Trade Executive Assistant Commissioner AnnMarie R. Highsmith. “Until Supermax and its subsidiaries can prove their manufacturing processes are free of forced labor, their goods are not welcome here.”

In Fiscal Year 2021, CBP issued seven WROs and two forced labor findings. The International Labour Organization estimates that 25 million workers suffer under conditions of forced labor worldwide. Foreign companies exploit forced labor to sell goods below market value. This exposes vulnerable populations to inhumane working conditions like physical and sexual violence, isolation, restriction of movement, withholding of wages, excessive overtime, and more. It also hurts law-abiding businesses, threatens American jobs, and exposes consumers to unwittingly supporting unethical business practices.

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If you are subject to a WRO or have any questions how a CBP WRO will impact your business, contact David Hsu anytime by phone or text to: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.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.

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.

Withhold Release Order issued for Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the over 400 ports of entry into the US will detain all shipments from Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC).

The Withhold Release Order (WRO) was issued for XPCC based on information that reasonably indicates XPCC uses forced and convict labor in their cotton and cotton products.

The recent WRO is the sixth issued by CBP against goods manufactured by forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Under a WRO, importers have two options,

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 at all U.S. ports of entry of all cotton products produced by the XPCC and any similar products that the XPCC produces. Importers of detained shipments have two options – export the shipment or demonstrate the merchandise was not producd with forced labor.

If you have had your shipment detained for a violation of an active WRO – contact trade attorney David Hsu by phone or email at 832-896-6288 or attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Suspected goods made from Chinese forced labor seized by CBP.

Image of seized gloves; source: CBP.gov

CBP seized 32 cartons of women’s leather gloves suspected of being manufactured by forced labor. CBP believes the shipment may have been made from forced labor because the shipment originated from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. As you may or may not know, the Xinjiang region is where the CBP media release reports the Chinese is committing human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities.

The shipment was detained under a “Withhold Release Order” (WRO) against Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Company Limited and Baoding LYSZD Trade And Business Company Limited. A WRO is typically issued against a manufacturer after CBP conducts an investigation. The investigation will look for forced labor indicators such as restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation, threats, withholding of wages and abusive working and living conditions.

If CBP issues a WRO, this enables CBP personnel at the port of entry to detain the shipment if there is a reasonable belief the goods were made by forced labor. WRO seizures are not able to be admitted to the US and Importer of Records of WRO goods have 90 days to re-export detained shipments or submit proof to CBP the goods were not made with forced labor.

If your goods are subject to a WRO and you want to discuss your options – contact David Hsu by phone/text at anytime to 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

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.