Based on 5 ILO (International Labor Organization) forced labor indicators, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued a Withhold Release Order, or WRO, for raw sugar and sugar-based products produced by the largest producer in Dominican Republic.
This withhold release order for raw sugar products is the latest in a series of efforts by CBP to address human rights abuses worldwide. For example, these human rights abuses include forced labor and indentured servitude. In September, SGL reported on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act going into effect. This act establishes a presumption that any product made in the Xinjiang Region, or made by any entity that is listed on the UFLPA Entity List, was produced by forced labor.
What is a Withhold Release Order (WRO)?
Withhold Release Orders are an effort to prevent merchandise produced using Forced Labor from entering into the United States. Chiefly, one of CBP’s priorities is identifying and investigating allegations of Forced Labor in supply chains. If evidence of Forced Labor is found, merchandise may be excluded from entering the United States, or seized by CBP for further investigation.
“CBP defines forced labor as all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty for its nonperformance and for which the worker does not offer work or service voluntarily. Indentured labor is defined as work or service performed pursuant to a contract, the enforcement of which can be accomplished by process or penalties. This includes forced or indentured child labor.”https://www.cbp.gov/trade/forced-labor
Impact on Sugar Importers
This sugar WRO, effective November 23, 2022, will have significant impact on sugar importers. CBP will detain raw sugar and sugar-based products from this producer at all U.S. Ports. Consequently, if a shipment is detained, CBP will issue a detention notice. Importers will have 3 months to provide documentation to show the products were not produced with forced labor. Otherwise, they must export the shipments. WROs are active until modified or revoked.
Accordingly, it is more important than ever to map and know your supply chain. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or is likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violations Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
Find the full CBP Press Release here.
Find a list of all WROs here.