U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it has directed personnel at all U.S. ports of entry to begin seizing disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove Corporation Bhd. (Top Glove).
The CBP Office of Trade, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, published a forced labor finding against disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove in the Customs Bulletin and in the Federal Register. The finding communicates that CBP has sufficient information to believe that Top Glove uses forced labor in the production of disposable gloves. Merchandise covered by the forced labor finding is subject to seizure upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry.
“Today’s forced labor finding is the result of a months-long CBP investigation aimed at preventing goods made by modern slavery from entering U.S. commerce,” said Troy Miller, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the CBP Commissioner. “CBP will not tolerate foreign companies’ exploitation of vulnerable workers to sell cheap, unethically-made goods to American consumers.”
“CBP has taken steps to ensure that this targeted enforcement action against Top Glove will not have a significant impact on total U.S. imports of disposable gloves,” said John Leonard, CBP Acting Executive Assistant Commissioner for Trade. “We continue to work with our interagency partners to ensure that the personal protective equipment, medical devices and pharmaceuticals needed for the COVID-19 response are cleared for entry as expeditiously as possible while verifying that those goods are authorized and safe for use.”
The finding expands upon a Withhold Release Order (WRO) that CBP issued in July 2020. That WRO was based on reasonable but not conclusive information that multiple forced labor indicators exist in Top Glove’s production process, including debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents.
Today’s finding is the second forced labor finding that CBP has issued in Fiscal Year 2021. All findings are publicly available and listed by country on the CBP’s Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings page.
Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor. CBP detains shipments of goods suspected of being imported in violation of this statute.
If CBP has evidence sufficient to determine that imported goods were produced using forced labor, the agency will publish a formal finding to that effect in the Customs Bulletin and in the Federal Register pursuant to 19 C.F.R. §12.42(f). CBP will seize shipments subject to findings unless the importer can prove to CBP’s satisfaction that, per 19 C.F.R §12.43, the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.
CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including from the general public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being – or is likely to be – imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
More information is available in the forced labor finding against Top Glove.