Industry News

Forced Labor and China: Is Customs Ready?


The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) goes into effect on June 21st. This Act strictly prohibits the import (to the United States) of any goods that have essentially touched forced labor overseas. We can agree that forced labor is not acceptable in any manner but here’s the dilemma—how can an importer in rural Ohio be certain of any wrongdoing in rural China? On top of that, how can CBP be certain that a factory is using forced labor, and what are the criteria for reporting such an organization?

The fact of the matter is that any goods from this region could be susceptible to being held at the border by customs. There are already shippers who have had to send goods back from where they came. CBP recently issued a letter in advance of the June date:

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), hereafter referred to as “the Act”, was signed into law by President Biden on December 23, 2021.

The Act 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, or produced by an entity on a list required by clause (i), (ii), (iv) or (v) of section 2(d)(2)(B) of the Act, 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. The rebuttable presumption goes into effect on June 21, 2022.

In advance of June 21st, CBP will be issuing letters to importers identified as having previously imported merchandise that may be subject to the Act to encourage those importers to address any forced labor issues in their supply chains in a timely manner.

Please note that if you do not receive a letter from CBP, this does not mean that your supply chain is free of forced labor.  All importers are expected to review their supply chains thoroughly and institute reliable measures to ensure imported goods are not produced wholly or in part with convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor (including forced or indentured child labor).

We encourage all of our customers who are importing from this region to diligently assess their supply chains in advance of June. If you have any questions about how this may impact your business please reach out to your M.E. Dey representative.