On January 13, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced in a press release that a region-wide Withhold Release Order (WRO) for cotton and tomato products made by slave labor in Xinjiang would go into effect immediately.
This WRO requires the detention at all U.S. ports of entry of all cotton products and all tomato products grown or produced by entities operating in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). These products include apparel, textiles, tomato seeds, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and other goods made with cotton and tomatoes.
Forced labor remains a trade priority issue for CBP going back to a July 2, 2020, joint advisory by the Department of State, Department of Treasury, Department of Commerce, and Department of Homeland Security. CBP has issued several WROs related to forced labor allegations within the last year. CBP has noted that this order is based on information that reasonably indicates the use of detainee or prison labor and situations of forced labor throughout the XUAR.
Importers of detained shipments will have an opportunity to export their shipments or submit proof to CBP that they were not produced with forced labor or are not covered by this WRO.
Importers are responsible for ensuring the products they are attempting to import are not products of forced labor at any point in their supply chain, including the production or harvesting of raw materials.
If you have any questions, please contact your local Noatum Logistics USA representative.