US Customs and Border Protection (CBR) will block imports of palm oil and palm oil products from Malaysia as part of measures to combat forced labor abroad.
The restrictions, which came into force last Wednesday, apply to all palm oil produced by Malaysian agricultural company FGV Holdings Berhad. This decision is the result of a year-long investigation by the CBP of abuse in the world of work.
The agency identified a number of signs of forced labor, including physical and sexual abuse, debt coercion, and withholding of personal documents and wages, said Brenda smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Office of Commerce.
The exploitation of child labor used in the production of palm oil by FGV Holdings is also not excluded..
«Forced labor in supply chains is unacceptable in the United States. We require importers of crystal purity in production and supply technology», – said Smith.
CBP issued «suspension order» regarding palm oil from FGV Holdings. This will allow the agency to detain these products in US ports and force importers to either turn back or prove that palm oil was produced without any wrongdoing..
Agency expanded its powers in such matters in recent years. This is due to a change in US law in 2016 that extended the CBP’s mandate to ban products manufactured using forced labor..
This is the thirteenth separate import restriction order issued in 2020.. Earlier in September, the Trump administration applied similar measures against five Chinese companies accused of using forced labor involving prisoners from military camps.. Since the entry into force of the law «About tariffs» 1930 only 64 orders were issued restricting imports.
«Of course, next year we still have a lot of work to do.», – said Smith.
Palm oil is a widespread commodity used in many fields, from food to cosmetics and biofuels.. US palm oil imports totaled $ 147 billion since August 2018, according to CBP. The new restrictions on FGV Holdings will not have a significant impact on the total amount of US imports of palm oil and palm oil products, the agency said..