WASHINGTON—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a withhold release order on tobacco from Malawi and products containing tobacco from Malawi. The products will be detained at all U.S. ports of entry. CBP issued the WRO based on information collected by the agency that reasonably indicates the tobacco from Malawi is produced using forced labor and forced child labor.
“CBP wants to ensure the business community is compliant with the law requiring clean supply chains with no use of forced labor of any kind,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade.
While the WRO will require detention of tobacco from Malawi at all U.S. ports of entry, the WRO is not a ban. Rather, importers may offer proof that their tobacco and tobacco-containing products do not include tobacco from Malawi that was produced with labor prohibited under U.S. law. Importers of shipments detained under this WRO are also provided an opportunity to export their shipments under certain circumstances.
So far this year, CBP has issued seven WROs, showing the agency’s commitment to identifying and preventing products made with the use of forced labor. Any goods made, in whole or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor may not be imported into the United States. CBP issues withhold release orders when information available reasonably indicates that merchandise is, or is likely to be, imported in violation of this statute.
The Forced Labor Division (FLD) within CBP’s Office of Trade leads the enforcement of the prohibition of the importation of goods made from forced labor. CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including from the general public. Suspected illegal trade activity can be reported by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
Follow CBP Office of Trade on Twitter @CBPTradeGov.