U.S. Customs Issues Guidelines for Importers for Upcoming Implementation of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law – International Trade & Investment
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On June 13, 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released much-anticipated guidance regarding the upcoming implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which will take effect on June 21, 2022. Newly released CBP guidance provides importers with:
an overview of how CBP will handle detentions, exclusions, and seizures of imported goods under the UFLPA;
an outline of the types of evidence that CBP will expect importers to provide in order to rebut the UFLPA’s rebuttable presumption regarding the use of forced labor;
UFLPA enforcement guidelines with respect to cotton/apparel, tomato, and polysilicon products that are currently covered by stay release orders (WROs) under 19 USC § 1307.
Passed last December, the UFLPA amends 19 USC § 1307 (Section 307 of the Commerce Act of 1930), a federal law prohibiting the importation of goods made in whole or in part with forced labor, to reflect a presumption refutable that forced labor (and therefore the import ban) affects all goods manufactured in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) or in whole or in part by entities that permit the use of Uyghur forced labor. This presumption can only be rebutted by “clear and convincing evidence”.
The UFLPA has commissioned an Intergovernmental Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) to develop guidance for importers, including a list of companies/entities using forced labor in the XUAR or permitting the use Uyghur forced labor. These guidelines are due out on June 21, when the UFLPA itself goes into effect.
CBP’s recently released guidance explains that the agency’s administration of detentions, barrings, and seizures under the UFLPA will vary somewhat from its practice under 19 USC § 1307 Pre-Amendment. UFLPA, Section 1307 was primarily implemented through the issuance of WROs by CBP upon receiving information that created a reasonable suspicion that goods manufactured by a particular company or in a particular region were manufactured with forced labor. Importers whose goods are detained under a WRO generally have 90 days to either export the goods or present sufficient evidence for CBP to conclude that no forced labor was used in the production of the product. merchandise. However, importers whose goods are detained under the UFPLA will have 30 days to present clear and convincing evidence that the detained goods were not manufactured, in whole or in part, in the XUAR/with forced labor uyghur.
The CBP guidelines also explain that, to rebut the presumption with clear and convincing evidence, the agency may require an importer
show that it has a due diligence system in place to prevent forced labor from affecting its supply chains;
be able to trace the supply chain of imported goods “from raw materials to imported good”; and
For high-risk products (such as cotton, polysilicon, and tomato products) to maintain production records that document the “entire supply chain” and demonstrate that raw materials or components of the XUAR or made with Uyghur forced labor were mixed with non-XUAR entries.
Pursuant to the UFLPA, evidence presented to CBP to overcome the rebuttable presumption may be shared with Congress pursuant to the UFLPA.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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