US Stops 9000 Shipments from China Alleging Use of Forced Labour

[ABS News Service/10.07.2024]

The Administration is making significant progress in cracking down on Chinese products made with forced labor, despite some criticism that enforcement needs to be stepped up, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said yesterday.

In the two years since implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act, Customs and Border Protection has stopped 9000 shipments valued at $3.4 billion, he told a program sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In addition, 68 entities have been placed on the UFLPA’s Entity List to date. The law prohibits entry into the United States of products made with inputs produced in China’s Xinjiang region, where members of the Uyghur minority are subject to forced labor.

The act has been effective because companies understand that “we will enforce the law and will do so aggressively,” the Secretary commented. Another factor is that companies and customers understand that “human suffering is at the core of this law.”

Supply Chain Shifts

In response, companies are beginning to shift their supply chains away in “very, very significant ways,” according to Mr. Mayorkas. As an example, he cited how the manufacture of polysilicon for use in solar products is moving out of Xinjiang in favor of North America and India.

Homeland Security also is working with industry to make sure companies understand that they need to know their supply chains and how to ensure those supply chains are free of forced labor.

The Administration also is focusing on the US $800 de minimis threshold. The de minimis exemption is “built on a false premise” that low-value equals low risk, according to the Secretary.

CBP simply cannot screen all of the millions of packages that enter US borders every day under the de minimis exemption, but of the ones it does screen, it is not unusual to find goods made with forced labor, as well as packages containing illegal narcotics and ghost guns and other contraband, he said.