On June 13, 2022, CBP issued its operational guidance as to how it will process shipments under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA” or “the Act”) that will take effect on June 21st. Under this statute goods made wholly or in part in Xinjiang, or by entities identified on a forthcoming UFLPA Entity List, will be presumed to be made using forced labor and, hence, inadmissible. This CBP guidance is separate from an enforcement strategy and associated guidance to be issued by a multi-agency Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (“FLETF”) on June 21st. Previous GDLSK bulletins and information on the UFLPA may be accessed here.
Under the CBP guidance, the agency may take various enforcement actions (to include decisions to detain, exclude, and/or seize and forfeit shipments) with respect to goods covered by the Act.
An importer may contest the detention of a shipment within 30 days from the date the merchandise was presented for examination to CBP. Although not set forth in the guidance, CBP has indicated that the importer may request an extension of the detention period. A challenge to a detention may either demonstrate that the goods: a) are not covered by the UFLPA because they and their inputs are sourced completely from outside Xinjiang and have no connection to entities on the UFLPA Entity List; or, 2) although covered by the Act, an exception applies because no forced labor was used. In its guidance, CBP identifies the type of documentation it will require with respect to each type of importer response. CBP also identifies additional documentary considerations with respect to cotton, polysilicon and tomatoes.
In the event that the importer does not timely provide a response that satisfies CBP that the forced labor presumption has been rebutted, the detained goods will be excluded. An exclusion may be challenged by the filing of an administrative protest. The guidance also indicates that CBP may seize goods that violate the Act. A seizure may be challenged through the Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures petition process.
We are available to help importers in understanding the CBP guidance and to discuss steps that should be taken in preparation for UFLPA enforcement actions. Please contact Arthur Bodek or any other GDLSK attorney with questions or to discuss further.