On October 20 and October 21, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against disposable gloves from Malaysian company Supermax Corporation BHD and its three wholly owned subsidiaries as well as a separate WRO against tomatoes produced by Mexican farms Agropecuarios Tom S.A. de C.V., Horticola S.A de C.V., and their subsidiaries, respectively.
CBP issued the disposable glove WRO against Supermax Corporation and its three subsidiaries – Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd., Maxwell Glove Manufacturing Mhd., and Supermax Glove Manufacturing – based on information that indicated that the company used forced labor in its manufacturing operations. CBP specifically identified 10 of 11 possible indicators of forced labor from the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) list in its investigation.
For the Mexican tomato WRO, CBP identified at least 5 of 11 possible indicators of forced labor from the ILO’s list in its investigation into Agropecuarios, Horticola, and their subsidiaries, which included:
- Abuse of vulnerability
- Withholding of wages
- Debt bondage
- Abusive working and living conditions
With these two new orders, CBP has now issued 7 WROs as well as two forced labor findings in Fiscal Year 2021.
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.
For more information on actions addressing human rights and forced labor abuses, contact our team and see previous posts below.