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  4. Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force Adds Aluminum, PVC, and Seafood as New High Priority Sectors for Enforcement of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force Adds Aluminum, PVC, and Seafood as New High Priority Sectors for Enforcement of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

Release Date: July 9, 2024

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as chair of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), released an updated Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Strategy to Prevent the Importation of Goods Mined, Produced, or Manufactured with Forced Labor in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This strategy builds on two years of the Administration’s enforcement of the UFLPA in addition to DHS’s longstanding efforts to remove forced labor from U.S. supply chains and support responsible businesses and industries that uphold human rights protections and support fair competition.

Notably in this year’s strategy, the FLETF has identified new high priority sectors for enforcement – aluminum, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and seafood – for the first time since 2022. These industries were identified due to higher risk of forced labor or state labor transfer of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The FLETF continues to designate apparel, cotton and cotton products, silica-based products including polysilicon, and tomatoes and downstream products as high priority sectors.

“Forced labor is a form of modern slavery, and the Department of Homeland Security is committed to eradicating it from our supply chains,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The updated Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Strategy and new high-priority sectors for enforcement announced today reflect the evolving and expanding scope of those who seek to circumvent the law and profit off the exploitation of abused people. Our Department will continue to work closely with our partners in government, and with stakeholders across industry and civil society, to lead U.S. efforts to end forced labor by enforcing customs laws, supporting economic fairness, and safeguarding the human rights of all.”

Originally published in June 2022, the UFLPA Strategy outlines a multi-pronged approach to combating forced labor in global supply chains. This year’s updates outline how the FLETF has significantly advanced our objectives through several initiatives, including strong enforcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); expansion of the UFLPA Entity List; new high priority sectors for enforcement; and greater collaboration with stakeholders. The updated Strategy comes after DHS recently added three new entities to the UFLPA Entity List, bringing the total number of PRC-based companies whose goods are restricted from entering the United States to 68. The DHS fact sheet released today details the impact of our forced labor enforcement efforts and highlights updates in the latest UFLPA Strategy.

With the designation of new high priority sectors for enforcement, entities in these sectors will be prioritized for review by the FLETF for a variety of enforcement actions: inclusion on the UFLPA Entity List, export limitations, economic sanctions, and visa restrictions. The FLETF will undertake these enforcement actions to curtail the economic incentives to participate in or facilitate human rights abuses, including forced labor. Identifying high priority sectors also allows importers to focus their due diligence efforts on supply chains that intersect with these sectors, supporting compliance and keeping goods from forced labor out of U.S. markets.

“We are committed to expanding our enforcement of the UFLPA to keep goods made with forced labor out of U.S. markets,” said Robert Silvers, Under Secretary for Policy and Chair of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force. “This will happen through designation of more companies to the UFLPA Entity List, enforcement by CBP at our ports, focus on additional industry sectors, and continued engagement with industry and civil society.”

“Two years into the implementation of UFLPA, CBP and DHS efforts are making an impact against the scourge of forced labor. Businesses are shifting behavior to ensure their supply chains are free of goods made with forced labor, which protects workers and strengthens our nation’s economic security,” said Troy A. Miller, CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner. “Thus far, CBP has denied entry to nearly 3,500 such shipments valued at over $695 million. Our enforcement efforts will continue, as will our engagement with our key stakeholders to reinforce the shared imperative of this work.”

The Strategy furthers the memorandum President Biden signed in November 2023 on advancing worker empowerment, rights, and high labor standards globally. The memorandum represents the first whole-of-government approach to advance workers’ rights by directing departments and agencies to elevate labor rights in their work abroad, which includes DHS’ work implementing the UFLPA.

Forced labor undermines the global trading system and our national security. DHS and the FLETF remain dedicated to ensuring the United States is doing its part in upholding fair labor standards and supporting American workers and manufacturers with a fair and equal playing field in the global marketplace. The United States will remain diligent in standing up against these human rights abuses. The FLETF will continue to collaborate with stakeholders from the trade community, civil society, labor organizations and our international partners to ensure the use of forced labor is eradicated from U.S. and international supply chains.

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Last Updated: 07/09/2024
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