In December 2021, President Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) into law. The UFLPA creates a rebuttable presumption that goods “mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“XUAR”) of China, or by certain other entities in China, are made with forced labor and that such goods, wares, articles, and merchandise are not entitled to entry to the United States.[1] The presumption applies unless the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) determines that the importer of record has complied with certain due diligence and evidentiary standards. The UFLPA requires CBP  to publish guidance on the due diligence and evidentiary standard needed to rebut the presumption after a formal rulemaking process. The UFLPA also requires the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (“FLETF”), an interagency group dedicated to preventing the import of goods made with forced labor into the US, to “develop a strategy for supporting enforcement of Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307) to prevent the importation into the United States of goods mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor in the People’s Republic of China.”[2]  For more information on the contents of the UFLPA, please refer to our previous Legal Alert on the subject.

The rebuttable presumption will enter into force on June 21, 2022, the same day that the FLETF must submit its initial strategy to Congress for review. The FLETF has already solicited written comments and hosted a public hearing to inform its strategy.

On April 12, 2022, CBP announced on its website that, in advance of June 21, 2022, the date of enter into force of the rebuttable presumption, CBP will be issuing letters to importers that it has identified as having previously imported merchandise that may be subject to the UFLPA to encourage them to address any forced labor issues in their supply chains in a timely manner. CBP noted that not receiving a letter is not an indication that a company’s supply chain is free of forced labor. CBP urged all importers to thoroughly review their supply chains, regardless of whether they received a letter, to ensure that their supply chains do not use any convict labor, forced labor or indentured labor, including any forced or indentured child labor.

[1] Pub. L. 117-78 § 3.

[2] Pub. L. 117-78 § 2(c).

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