WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today that it modified a Withhold Release Order (WRO) such that bone black produced by Bonechar Carvão Ativado do Brasil Ltda (Bonechar) is admissible at all U.S. ports of entry effective December 4, 2020.
CBP previously prevented these bone black imports from entering the United States based on reasonable suspicion that they were produced using forced labor. Imports of bone black produced by Bonechar prior to the effective date of the WRO modification remain inadmissible.
CBP modified the WRO after receiving detailed information about the labor conditions under which Bonechar produces bone black, a form of charcoal made by heating bone that is used to filter substances like water and sugar. The company addressed each of the five indicators of forced labor identified by CBP in a submission which incorporated data from worker interviews, a site visit, and document reviews. Employees are free to leave the premises if they wish and are not subjected to any form of punishment. The evidence provided sufficiently supports Bonechar and an affiliated importer’s claim that the bone black from the company has not been produced using forced labor since at least August 2020.
“The modification of this WRO demonstrates that companies are taking the consequences of CBP’s forced labor enforcement seriously,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “CBP recognizes the impact that WROs have on importers and exporters and thoroughly reviews petitions and admissibility requests. If companies demonstrate that there is no forced labor in their supply chains, CBP will modify the WRO to exclude them.”
Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor.
CBP is committed to identifying and preventing products made by forced labor from entering the United States to support ethical and humane trade while leveling the playing field for U.S. companies that respect fair labor standards. The agency receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including the public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
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