U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued five withhold release orders on Tuesday, which are issued when the agency has reason to believe products imported may be made in whole – or part – by forced labor (including convict labor, child labor and indentured labor).
As a result, these products, are not allowed to be imported into the country.
The products are manufactured in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and include certain hair products, apparel, cotton exports and computer parts.
“By taking this action, DHS is combating illegal and inhumane forced labor, a type of modern slavery, used to make goods that the Chinese government then tries to import into the United States,” acting DHS deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement. “When China attempts to import these goods into our supply chains, it also disadvantages American workers and businesses.”
So far this fiscal year, CBP has issued 12 withhold release orders, which it characterized as “unprecedented.”
The agency said it will detain products in question at any port, regardless of the country of origin, if it believes the items are manufactured in violation of U.S. standards. It receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including from the general public.