THE WHAT? The US Customs and Border Protection Agency has announced that it will detain all palm oil and palm oil products made by Malaysia’s FGV Holdings, its subsidiaries and joint ventures, effective immediately.
THE DETAILS The Withhold Release Order was made based on information that ‘reasonably indicates’ the use of forced labor, said the CBP, and is the result of a year-long investigation revealing forced labor indicators such as physical and sexual violence, retention of ID, withholding of wages and abusive working and living conditions, among others. The investigation also raised concerns that forced child labor is potentially being used in production.
“The use of forced labor in the production of such a ubiquitous product allows companies to profit from the abuse of vulnerable workers,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “These companies are creating unfair competition for legitimately sourced goods and exposing the public to products that fail to meet ethical standards.”
THE WHY? Federal statute 19 USC 1307 prohibits the importation of mechandise mined, manufactured, or produced wholly or in part by forced labor.