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Congress Passes the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

By December 21, 2021 No Comments

Congress Passes the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

To exclude products made by forced labor in the Xingang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China, U.S. Customs has issued several Withhold Release Orders (WRO) covering certain items produced in,  or containing components produced in the Uyghur area.  Now that mandate will be expanded to cover all products from the area, under a Congressional Bill.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (HR 6210) recently passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support. Now the bill moves to the White House, and since the bill also has the support of President Biden, it is certain to be signed into law.  While the bill is technically not a complete ban on all products from the XUAR, it essentially has the same effect as placing a WRO on all products from the area.  Any goods manufactured wholly or in part in the XUAR will be assumed to be produced by forced labor and therefore will be excluded from entry into the U.S. To overcome this presumption the importer must provide “clear and convincing evidence” that the goods were not produced with forced labor and must have fully complied with the due diligence, guidance, and regulations to be issued by the government.

What importers may find most problematic is proving that the goods they are purchasing do not contain any components which are made in the XUAR. This is especially true of goods which contain cotton, tomatoes of polysilicon which have already been identified as potential threats for forced labor. With the expansion required by this Act anything from the XUAR will be viewed as suspect.

The U.S. Government is required to develop a strategy for preventing imports of goods made in the XUAR with forced labor. This effort will include tracing the origin of goods and greater supply chain transparency to identify third party supply routes. Enforcement of this Act will commence 180 days after it becomes law. During this six month period you can expect the Government to creates lists of XUAR entities that produce or export goods or source products from the area made with forced labor. As noted, cotton, tomatoes and polysilicon have already been named as high priority for enforcement and the government will develop an enforcement plan for these and any other items found to be high risk. They will also work with Customs  to better identify and trace goods from the XUAR and provide guidance to importers on best practices, due diligence and supply chain tracing measures.

Combating the importation of goods produced with forced labor has been an increased focus of Customs and their C-TPAT program for several years. In this case the impetus comes from Congress. Importers need to be certain that their goods will not be in violation of the Act or face the expensive possibility that their imports will not be allowed into the country.

Should you have any questions about this development, your CVI customs compliance professional is ready to assist.

Best Regards,

Sam McClure, LCB

Director of Compliance & Customs Services

 

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Meet one of CVI’s Customs Brokerage & Compliance experts, Sam McClure:

Sam serves as Director, Compliance and Customs Services for CVI. He serves as CVI’s corporate compliance officer and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of our Customs related services, including growth.

Sam started his career in 1977 with Waters Shipping Company in Charlotte, NC. He began as a document runner, soon becoming a leader in operations and customer service for the branch. Sam, along with Linda Masten, founded Central Carolina Shipping Inc. in 1983 as an independent Customs Brokerage firm where he served as Vice President for 26 years. Sam and Linda grew Central Carolina into a successful and highly respected member of the Carolinas trade community. When Charlotte opened their local chapter of the IFFCBA Sam was part of the organizing group and he headed the Customs committee for several years. Sam obtained his Customs Brokers License in 1984 and remained with Central Carolina until the company was acquired by CVI in 2009.

At CVI, Sam has held several positions in both the operations and sales departments. As an expert in U.S. Customs regulations, Sam is often called upon on to provide guidance to importers on Customs compliance issues. He makes regular presentations on matters related to importation and broader regulatory compliance.

– Sam McClure, LCB, Director of Compliance & Customs Services, CVI
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