On July 26, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) modified its July 1998 Withhold Release Order (WRO) that originally prevented the importation of carpet and hand-knotted wool products from seven Nepalese companies. Specifically, CBP modified the WRO so that carpet and hand-knotted wool products from Annapurna Carpet Industries Pvt. Ltd. (Annapurna Carpet) would be admissible at all U.S. ports of entry. This decision came after a thorough investigation by CBP into Annapurna Carpet indicated that the company had addressed all eleven indicators of forced labor and “remediated concerns about the use of forced labor in its production process.”
The modification marks the second time CBP has modified this WRO. The first time CBP modified the WRO was in October 1998 when it allowed for the importation of carpet and hand-knotted wool products from the following three of the seven companies originally included in the WRO:
- Norsang Carpet Industries Pvt., Ltd.,
- Everest Carpet
- K.K. Carpet Industries.
At that time CBP found that the three companies had fully addressed concerns regarding the use of forced labor in their supply chains. Notably, the following three companies are still impacted by the WRO:
- Kumar Carpet Pvt.
- Singhe Carpet Pvt.
- Valley Carpet
WROs are issued by the U.S. government when information reasonably but not conclusively indicates goods were made in whole or in part using Forced Labor. Merchandise detained under a WRO order must be exported immediately or a substantial submission made that provides specific information showing that the goods were not made with forced labor. To obtain a release of any shipment that has been subjected to a WRO, a certificate of origin along with this detailed statement regarding the merchandise’s production and supply chain origin must be submitted to CBP. CBP makes a determination on a case-by-case basis.
The Press Release is available here.
For more information on actions addressing human rights and forced labor abuses, contact our team and see previous posts below.