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, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Follow CBP Office of Trade on Twitter @CBPTradeGov.

CBP revokes WRO on tuna harvested by the Tunago 61 vessel.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release – CBP announced that tuna and tuna products harvested from the Tunago No.61 vessel will be admissible at all U.S. ports of entry beginning April 1, 2020.

The revocation of withhold release order (WRO) on tuna and tuna products harvested from the Tunago No. 61 vessel was based on information provided to CBP that tuna and tuna products from this vessel are no longer produced under forced labor conditions.

A WRO is put in place prohibiting the importation of certain goods if CBP believes the goods being imported were made wholly or in part by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor.

If you are subject to a pending WRO and want to discuss your options, or if you are aware of an importer using any type of forced labor; contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

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

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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, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

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.

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

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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.