On April 12, 2022, CBP posted an announcement of its intention to issue “Known Importer Letters” in advance of the June 21st effective date of the rebuttable presumption under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).
Under the UFLPA, CBP will presume that goods were imported in violation of the forced labor statute if they were mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“XUAR”) or by an entity on a list required to be developed under the statute. Exceptions will apply where the CBP commissioner determines: a) that the importer has fully complied with guidance to be established under the UFLPA and has completely and substantively responded to all associated CBP inquiries; and, b) by clear and convincing evidence, that the goods were not produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor.
In its announcement, CBP indicates that it will be issuing letters to parties identified as having previously imported merchandise that may be subject to the UFLPA to encourage them to examine and address any forced labor issues in their supply chains in a timely manner. The announcement goes on to state that all importers (regardless of whether they receive a letter) are expected to review their supply chains thoroughly and institute reliable measures to ensure imported goods are not produced wholly or in part with convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor (including forced or indentured child labor).
The announcement regarding the issuance of “Known Importer Letters” further signals CBP’s intention to robustly enforce the UFLPA. It serves as the latest reminder to importers that they are expected to enact supply chain due diligence programs which address raw material acquisitions and each step of the production process with the requirements of the UFLPA in mind. We are available to assist in this regard.