FORCED LABOR PREVENTION
ACT, united states
President Biden's historic passing of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA)on December 23rd 2021 serves to protect vulnerable workers by prohibiting any goods, wares, articles or merchandise mined produced in whole or part within China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region from entering into America, unless they are able to prove through clear and convincing evidence that these items were not subjected to forced labor practices as specified by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930.The DHS is cracking down on the issue of forced labor. Chairman Robert Silvers of FLETF has described it as a "top-tier compliance issue", and CBP is dedicating significant resources to actively enforce UFLPA laws, with close examination into any areas where suspected exploitation may be playing a role. A recent Wall Street Journal article serves to bring attention to this important matter - one that Boards and management teams need not take lightly considering its severe implications for those affected by such abuse.
US Department of Labor suggests eight steps to help stay in compliance:
Global supply chain mapping with FRDM software
We often say at FRDM that you can’t fix what you can’t find. This means that the first step towards complying with any legislation is to know what you are buying, and who you are buying it from. While this seems simple, our complicated global supply chain has made it opaque.
For example, you may think that your organization is above board when purchasing ethically sourced T-shirts for merchandizing. But Xinjiang cotton accounts for 85% of China’s cotton production, which accounts for 20% of the world’s supply. Even if you import from other countries in East Asia, there’s still a substantial chance that the raw cotton came from forced Xinjiang production.
Once you know more about your suppliers and have a high degree of confidence in your data, you can choose to amplify that information by sending your suppliers a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) that gathers more information about how they do business. A subscription to FRDM gives you unlimited SAQs, so you can consistently send, assess, and report on your suppliers.
When completed, SAQs are added to your supplier file along with any other certifications or documents that you’ve collected. You can also share your insights with the supplier to work together toward addressing any gaps in the data and mitigating risks. Having a shipment seized isn’t good for you or your supplier, and by working together you can prove that you’re both doing your due diligence to combat forced labor wherever it happens.
While we don’t know exactly what evidence will be required to show that imported goods didn’t come from forced labor in Xinjiang, building this kind of paper trail is always helpful when documenting due diligence on both sides of the buyer-supplier relationship.