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.

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 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.

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.

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.