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Forced Labor

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Yesterday, as part of its annual Virtual Trade Week series, US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a list of Frequently Asked Questions on forced labor (“the FAQs”).  The FAQs consist of responses to ten questions focused on current issues and latest developments in forced labor enforcement.  As mentioned in the FAQs, in FY2020 (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020), CBP set a record by issuing 13 Withhold Release Orders (“WROs”), detaining over $55…

On 12 July the European Commission and the European External Actions Service (EEAS) published guidance on “due diligence for EU businesses to address the risk of forced labour in their operations and supply chains”. The non-binding guidance seeks to provide European companies with practical advice on the implementation of effective human rights due diligence practices to address forced labour risks in their supply chains. It also provides an overview of international standards and principles on responsible business…

Background on Lawsuit In a 8-1 decision issued last week, the U.S. Supreme Court seemingly brought an end to a 15-year lawsuit brought against Nestlé and Cargill by Malian citizens who claim to have been enslaved as children on cocoa plantations located in the Ivory Coast.  Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Nestlé and Cargill knew the cocoa plantations used child labor, and aided and abetted the human rights abuses that they and other child laborers…

In another sign of the increasing commitment of the United States to curtail the importation of goods made by forced labor, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against a Chinese fishing fleet for suspected use of forced labor in its fishing operations.  The WRO instructs CBP personnel at all U.S. ports of entry to detain tuna, swordfish, and other seafood that has been harvested by a fleet…

On March 5, 2021, US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a new factsheet regarding how Withhold Release Orders (“WROs”) might be modified or revoked by CBP (“WRO Modification and Revocation Guidance”), which builds upon previous guidance by CBP on similar issues, including the factsheet issued on August 6, 2020. As a reminder, a WRO can be issued when CBP reasonably (but not conclusively) believes that certain goods are mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or…