Forced labor has increasingly become a focus for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in part due to regulatory changes brought about by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA). Recently, CBP issued withhold release orders on cotton, apparel, computer parts, and hair products from China for forced labor violations (see trade alert of September 15). However, a notice issued October 19th indicated that CBP issued a forced labor finding on imports of stevia from China, which is the first such finding since 1996. A finding differs from a withhold release order in that conclusive evidence is necessary for a finding.
CBP is looking very carefully at the origin of goods, including the regions of the country in which they originate. As an example, a great deal of cotton is manufactured in particular regions of China, and CBP is carefully scrutinizing forced labor in these regions. For more information on forced labor withhold release orders and findings, please review CBP’s fact sheet “Forced Labor Enforcement, Withhold Release Orders, Findings, and Detention Procedures.”