WASHINGTON—Effective today, imported stevia extracts and their derivatives produced by PureCircle Ltd in the People’s Republic of China will be detained at all U.S. ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske directed the issuance of a withhold release order against PureCircle Ltd based on information obtained by CBP indicating stevia extracts and derivatives are produced with the use of convict labor.
“It is imperative that companies examine their supply chains to understand product sourcing and the labor used to generate their products,” said Commissioner Kerlikowske. “CBP is committed to ensuring U.S. values outweigh economic expediency and as part of its trade enforcement responsibilities, will work to ensure products made with forced labor do not cross our borders.”
The order will require detention at all U.S. ports of entry of any such merchandise manufactured by this company. Importers of detained shipments are provided an opportunity to demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.
Under 19 U.S.C. § 1307 it is illegal to import into the United States goods made, in whole or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. CBP issues withhold release orders when information available reasonably indicates that imported merchandise is in violation of this statute.
Additional information, including how to submit information to CBP, may be found at http://www.cbp.gov/trade/trade-community/programs-outreach/convict-importations.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.