U.S. Imposes Import Ban Under New Trade Act

U.S. Imposes Import Ban Under New Trade Act

Any question about whether or not the U.S. Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act will have teeth have now been answered.

On March 29th, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske directed the issuance of a withhold release order against imported products manufactured or mined by Tangshan Sanyou Group and its subsidiaries in the People’s Republic of China. These products include soda ash, calcium chloride, caustic soda and viscose/rayon fiber. The order requires any of the listed merchandise manufactured by this company to be detained at all U.S. ports of entry.

According to a press release on their website, the CBP obtained information indicating the Tangshan Sanyou Group and its subsidiaries utilize convict labor in the production of its merchandise. Kerlikowske cited the Act, saying the CBP is committed to “vigorously enforcing the legal prohibition on the importation of goods manufactured with forced labor.”

Read the press release here.

The CBP has always had authority to seize and halt future shipments of imported goods tainted by forced or child labor under the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930. However, according to the Associated Press, this had only happened 35 times in 85 years partly due to a loophole, called the consumptive demand exception, which allowed these imports if there were no other means through which to meet consumer demand.

While the loophole was closed with the signing of the U.S. Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act on February 24th, the lack of prior enforcement led some to question whether it would actually be used to stop tainted imports.

Kerlikowske’s actions and comments, just a month after the Act was signed, indicate the department’s intention to aggressively enforce this new legislation. Companies that have yet to ensure their imported goods are not tainted by these activities should take notice of this move by the CBP and be prepared in the future to demonstrate their goods are ethically sourced.

Assent Compliance’s Human Trafficking Subject Matter Expert, Kate Dunbar, hosted a webinar in March exploring this new law and its impact on business. Click here to watch the webinar.

Assent’s expert regulatory team are available to answer questions about the U.S. Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act and other anti-human trafficking and modern slavery regulations, and discuss what implications they may have for your business.

Contact our regulatory experts at info@assentcompliance.com.