The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a release announcing that the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) has launched the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) enforcement strategy, which took effect June 21, 2022.
The UFLPA establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), or produced by certain entities, is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and that such goods, wares, articles, and merchandise are not entitled to entry to the United States.
To rebut this presumptive ban, importers must show: (1) their compliance with all of the Act’s implementing regulations and FLETF’s due diligence guidance, (2) that they responded “completely and substantively” to all agency inquiries, and (3) “clear and convincing evidence” that their goods were not produced with forced labor.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection have issued Operational Guidance for Importers outlining what is required for importers to demonstrate due diligence, effective supply chain tracing, and supply chain management measures to ensure that they do not import any goods made, in whole or in part, by forced labor, especially from the Xinjiang Region. This requirement extends throughout the entire supply chain, to include goods that may be shipped from elsewhere in the PRC and to third countries for further processing.
Although the government has expressed an interest to enforce the regulations to their fullest extent, initial enforcement will likely be focused on the UFLPA Entity List and on the four sectors identified by the FLETF as high-priority sectors: apparel, cotton, silica-based products, and tomatoes, however, all importers should take necessary steps to ensure their imported goods are not manufactured in any part with forced labour.
For more information, contact Brian Rowe, Director – Customs Compliance & Regulatory Affairs.