On December 23, 2021, President Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law. The Act will go into effect on June 21, 2022.
The Act prohibits U.S. imports 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.
By January 22, 2022, an interagency Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force will publish a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comments. The public will have 45 days from the date of publication to submit comments.
After reviewing public comments and holding a hearing, the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force will develop a strategy to prevent the importation of forced labor goods from China into the United States. As a part of the strategy, the Task Force will create and publish a list of the following:
- Entities in the Xinjiang region that mine or produce goods with forced labor
- Entities working with the government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to recruit, transport, transfer, harbor, or receive forced labor or Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or members of other persecuted groups out of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
- Entities that exported products made with forced labor from China to the United States
- Facilities and entities that source materials from the Xinjiang
Any products mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by these entities will be prohibited from entry into the United States under 19 USC 1307. Importers should examine the list, once available, and ensure they are not importing any goods from any of the listed entities.
Most importantly, the Task Force must provide guidance to importers with respect to:
- Due diligence, effective supply chain tracing, and supply chain management measures
- The type, nature, and extent of evidence that demonstrates that goods originating in China were not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
- The type, nature, and extent of evidence that demonstrates that goods originating in China, including goods detained or seized pursuant to section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307), were not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor
In order to prove admissibility of imported goods, importers will have to:
- Fully comply with the guidance developed by the Task Force
- Completely and substantively respond to all inquiries for information submitted by the Commissioner to ascertain whether the goods were mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor
- Provide clear and convincing evidence demonstrating that the good, ware, article, or merchandise was not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor
We recommend that importers take the next five months to analyze their supply chains and make sure they do not source any products made in whole or in part from any materials or components originating in the Xinjiang region. Also, keep in mind, CBP will not suspend the issuance of WROs on goods believed to be produced by forced labor in any region, including the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, between now and June 21, 2022. Importers should already be examining their supply chains for any forced labor risk.
If you have any questions about forced labor enforcement, need assistance with updating procedures for responsible sourcing, or require support with your compliance program, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Trade Advisory Group.