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Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA)

The UFLPA prohibits the importation of merchandise produced (in whole or in part) in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, which may have far-reaching consequences for US importers. This page will serve as a resource with the latest updates and guidelines regarding the UFLPA.

Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Signed Into Law

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) (Public Law No: 117-78) was signed into law on December 23, 2021. The UFLPA aims to address the alleged human rights violations imposed on the Uyghur population and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Effective June 21, 2022, the UFLPA established a rebuttable presumption that goods made in whole or in part in the XUAR are made with forced labor and prohibited from importation unless the importer can provide “clear and convincing evidence” that the goods were not produced with forced labor. This means that finished goods that are produced outside of XUAR (in other parts of China or worldwide), may still be banned from importation if any XUAR raw materials or components are used. There is no de minimis exception.

Forced Labor Enforcement – UFLPA Statistics

CBP publishes Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act enforcement statistics that report the number and value of entries detained, released, denied, and pending for each industry and country of export. The statistics are updated at least quarterly. However, the statistics do not reflect the number of entries for which a detention response submission was made or specific products. The statistics have historically shown that most detentions cover electronics (largely solar products), followed by Apparel, Footwear and Textiles, and Industrial and Manufacturing Materials. The statistics also illustrate that CBP is detaining goods exported from countries other than China.
The statistics can be a helpful tool to monitor the industries targeted by CBP.

US Customs and Border Protection Operational Guidance

On June 13, 2022, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued its Operational Guidance to assist importers to prepare for UFLPA implementation and enforcement. This guidance should be reviewed in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) UFLPA Strategy.

In the event that goods are detained, an importer will have the following options to respond:

  • Export: An importer may seek to export a shipment detained under the UFLPA before the merchandise is excluded or seized. The importer must present an Immediate Export in-bond and request permission from the port director to export the shipment.
  • Prove No Nexus to XUAR: The importer can respond to CBP’s detention notice by providing evidence that the merchandise at issue has no connection with the XUAR (or an entity on the UFLPA Entity List) and therefore is outside the scope of the UFLPA. To demonstrate that the merchandise is outside the scope of the UFLPA, the importer will need to provide supply chain tracing documentation outlined in CBP’s Guidance and DHS’ UFLPA Strategy. It may be possible that some testing technologies can be used to evidence that the goods have no nexus to XUAR. If CBP agrees that the merchandise is outside the scope of the UFLPA, the importer will not need to obtain an exception to the UFLPA (which requires a public report to Congress) and the goods will be released.
  • Request an exception to the UFLPA rebuttable presumption. If merchandise is connected to the XUAR or an entity on the UFLPA Entity List, an importer can seek an exception to the UFLPA’s rebuttable presumption. This request can be made during a detention, after an exclusion, or during the seizure process, and is subject to the corresponding administrative procedures. Importers requesting an exception to the rebuttable presumption may present evidence of the due diligence systems the importer has in place, thorough supply chain tracing documentation from raw materials to the imported goods, supplier labor practices, and information regarding supply chain management measures. CBP has also provided guidance on information that should be submitted for goods originating in China. As a practical matter, it will be very difficult to obtain an exception because it requires access to detailed information regarding supplier labor practices.

CBP has implemented additional forced labor security criteria for Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) Trade Compliance partners. CBP will attempt to prioritize review of submissions made by CTPAT Trade Compliance members in good standing.

The CBP Guidance includes a list of documentation to help demonstrate that merchandise is outside the scope of the UFLPA or to request an exception to the rebuttable presumption. This list is not exhaustive and is intended to provide importers with flexibility in accordance with individual business practices. Any documentation and information submitted to CBP must be submitted in English and should be well-organized to facilitate CBP’s review. CBP has identified specific documentation for companies that import products with a high-risk of forced labor, including cotton, polysilicon, and tomatoes.

Department of Homeland Security’s Strategy

In accordance with the requirements of the UFLPA, the DHS’s Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) released its Strategy to Prevent the Importation of Goods Mined, Produced, or Manufactured with Forced Labor in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (Strategy) on June 17,2022. The Strategy includes information regarding high priority sectors, the DHS’s enforcement plan, guidance to importers regarding due diligence and effective supply chain tracing, evidence to demonstrate that goods were not produced in the XUAR, and evidence to demonstrate that a good originating in the PRC was not produced with forced labor. The UFLPA also provides authority for sanctions for XUAR forced labor related activities. Notably, the Strategy also contemplates criminal liability for companies that fail to terminate a relationship with a supplier that uses forced labor or fails to take remedial action. 

On July 26, 2023, the FLETF issued the mandated annual update to the UFLPA strategy. The update had few significant additions, however it did indicate that other products outside of the three priority sectors (cotton, tomatoes, polysilicon) may be targets for enforcement, including: red dates and other agricultural products, vinyl products and downstream products, aluminum and downstream products, steel and downstream products, lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, copper and downstream products, electronics, and tires and other automobile components.

Released Entity Lists

In accordance with UFLPA requirements, the DHS has published the UFLPA Entity List, which includes a list of entities the DHS has determined mine, produce, or manufacture merchandise with forced labor, work with the XUAR government in forced labor related activities, export products from XUAR, or that participate in “poverty alleviation” or “pairing assistance” programs in connection with XUAR labor... As these lists are subject to change at any time, companies should regularly monitor the UFLPA Entity List on the DHS’s website to determine whether they are engaging in business with an entity listed by the DHS. Goods produced in whole or part by entities on the DHS Entity List are prohibited from importation into the US. 

While the DHS has been slow to add entities to this list, they have indicated that there will be more additions in the future.

UFLPA Timeline Enforcement under 19 CFR § 151.16

Under the UFLPA, CBP is authorized to detain merchandise pursuant to 19 CFR § 151.16. This regulation provides for a much different timeline for the detention of merchandise than the WRO process. Under this process, if CBP does not make a timely decision regarding admissibility, goods are automatically excluded.

5 Days from Presentation for Examination

CBP must decide whether to release or detail merchandise. If the merchandise is not released, it is detained

5 Days after Decision to Release or Detain

CBP will issue a notice to the importer setting forth:

  • The initiation of detention
  • Date merchandise examined
  • Reason for detention
  • Anticipated length of detention
  • Nature of tests and inquiries to be conducted
  • Information to accelerate the disposition
  • Upon written request, CBP must provide importer with testing procedures, methodologies used, and testing results for tests performed on the merchandise
Within 30 Days of Examination

CBP will make a final determination as to the admissibility of merchandise

  • If CBP does not make a determination within the 30-day period, the merchandise will be deemed excluded
  • This means any submission to rebut the presumption should be made before this 30-day period (requests for extensions may be granted)
Within 180 Days of CBP Determination/Exclusion

Importers may protest CBP’s final determination

Within 30 Days After Protest Submitted The protest is deemed denied if CBP does not grant or deny the protest within 30 days
Within 180 Days after the Date the Protest is Denied

The importer may commence a court action contesting the denied protest (28 U.S.C. § 1581(a))

  • In a court action, CBP must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that an admissibility decision has been reached for good cause
  • Customs can decide to grant the protest after the deemed denial but before a court case is filed

The UFLPA process timeline is much shorter than the WRO process. Importantly, a company contesting CBP’s detention of merchandise pursuant to the UFLPA would be required to submit documentation to rebut the presumption within the 30-day period that CBP is assessing admissibility, whereas the WRO process permits 90 days. Like the WRO process, the importer may also file a protest 180 days after CBP makes its final determination regarding the exclusion.

Impact on Withhold Release Orders

CBP has issued several WRO’s, essentially banning the importation of specified products from XUAR. Effective June 21, 2022, detentions of products originally subject to XUAR-related WROs will be subject to the UFLPA administrative process under 19 CFR § 151.16. Products that are the subject of existing XUAR WROs are expected to be the initial target of detentions under the UFLPA.

  • Silica-based products- Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. Ltd. and Subsidiaries
  • Cotton, tomatoes, and downstream products- XUAR
  • Computer parts- Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Products produced by - No. 4 Vocation Skills Education Training Center (VSETC)
  • Hair Products- Lop County Hair Product Industrial Park and Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co., Ltd.
  • Apparel - Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co., Ltd.
  • Garments- Hero Vast Group

Products Produced in XUAR

Many finished goods and raw materials are produced in XUAR. Raw material inputs from XUAR may be sent to other regions in China or third countries for production of finished goods. We have obtained trade data from XUAR that lists the products produced in the region. Below is a sample of the products produced in XUAR. Any company with potential exposure to, or connection with the below industries in XUAR should evaluate their supply chains, as these products may be the subject of future WROs or prohibitions under the UFLPA. We can also assist companies to confirm whether their product categories or inputs for their products are produced in XUAR.

  • Agriculture (including such products as raw cotton, hami melons, korla pears, tomato products, and garlic);
  • Aluminum;
  • Auto parts; 
  • Battery Components;
  • Cell Phones;
  • Cleaning Supplies;
  • Construction;
  • Cotton, Cotton Yarn, Cotton Fabric, Ginning, Spinning Mills, and Cotton Products;
  • Electronics Assembly;
  • Extractives (including coal, copper, hydrocarbons, oil, uranium, and zinc);
  • Fake hair and human hair wigs, hair accessories;
  • Food processing factories;
  • Footwear;
  • Gloves;
  • Hospitality Services;
  • Metals; 
  • Metallurgical grade silicon;
  • Noodles;
  • Printing Products;
  • Rayon;
  • Renewable Energy (polysilicon, ingots, wafers, crystalline silicon solar cells, crystalline silicon solar photovoltaic modules);
  • Stevia;
  • Sugar;
  • Textiles (including such products as apparel, bedding, carpets, wool, viscose); and
  • Toys.

Background: Human Rights Abuses in the XUAR Region

According to US government investigations, the XUAR Uyghur population, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups have been the target of human rights abuses and a mass campaign of repression by the government of the PRC.

Specific abuses include arbitrary detention for indefinite periods, severe physical and psychological abuse, forced labor, involuntary collection of biometric data, sterilization, sexual abuse, genetic analyses, religious persecution, and cultural and political indoctrination in re-education camps. These groups have been placed in large internment camps and some are forced to work in Chinese government-owned factories. There are reports of mass transfers of this population and forced to work at factories across China.

The XUAR region has been an important region for trade globally, and many companies rely on the import of products and raw materials from the region. XUAR produces twenty percent of the world’s cotton and an estimated eighty percent of cotton for China, the majority of the world’s supply of polysilicon used to produce solar panels, as well as aluminum, agriculture products, chemicals, minerals, oil, and an array of manufactured products including auto parts, footwear, and electronics.

On July 13, 2021, the US Department of State, in conjunction with the US Department of the Treasury, the US Department of Commerce, and the US Department of Homeland Security, issued an updated XUAR Supply Chain Business Advisory to strengthen its warnings against doing business in the region. An addendum to this Business Advisory was issued on September 26, 2023 to highlight the urgency for supply chain due diligence.

Given the severity and extent of these abuses, including widespread, state-sponsored forced labor and intrusive surveillance taking place amid ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in XUAR, businesses and individuals that do not exit supply chains, ventures, and/or investments connected to XUAR could run a high risk of violating US law.

Stay up to Date on CBP Guidance on the UFLPA:

We encourage companies to reference the resources below for more information on forced labor, the UFLPA, and supply chain due diligence to ensure forced labor is not being used in your supply chain.

How We Help

The ArentFox Schiff Forced Labor Task Force advises companies regarding how to prepare for implementation and enforcement of the UFLPA, respond to detentions, and stay up to date on UFLPA developments and guidance. We regularly assist companies to:

  • Conduct due diligence on supply chains and remove any links to XUAR (including raw material manufacturers) in order to prevent US Customs and Border Protection detentions at the border
    • ArentFox Schiff’s Forced Labor Task Force has compiled a list of goods sourced from XUAR that may serve as a starting point for supply chain due diligence
    • Review and map supply chains, including using AI technology
    • Compile documentation that evidences no nexus to XUAR
    • Conduct a mock detention response to prepare for the clear and convincing evidence standard under the UFLPA
  • Develop Forced Labor Policies and Code of Conduct
  • Draft language for supplier contracts and Purchase Orders
  • Conduct Employee and Supplier Forced Labor Training
  • Advise on Technology Solutions

We also provide guidance to our clients on the following topics: 

Please contact one of the members of the ArentFox Schiff Forced Labor Task Force for any questions.

Updated as of January 5, 2024

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