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The US Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) went into effect in 2022, targeting cotton, tomatoes and polysilicon products that might originate, in whole or in part, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Perhaps more quietly than you might think, US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has been very active in enforcing the law and banning imports. These are the most recent statistics from a report published by risk data and software solutions provider Kharon:

“Since enforcement of the UFLPA began, CBP has detained 5,059 shipments worth $1,745,800,000 (as of July 2023). Shipments from more than five countries were detained, with the majority of detentions targeting goods that were imported into the U.S. from Malaysia, Vietnam, and China. Over 36% of shipments detained by CBP to date were directly from China.

Of the 2,470 total shipments detained in 2022 (from the start of enforcement in June, through December), valued at $773.5 million, 1,127 shipments were denied and 1,082 shipments were released. Shipments containing electronics constitute the bulk of the detentions with 1,419 shipments detained valued at $705.5 million. So far in 2023 (January through July, CBP’s most recent reporting period as of this publication), 2,589 shipments have been detained, valued at $972.3 million, with 606 shipments denied and 988 shipments released. Similar to 2022, electronics were the primary type of good detained with 828 shipments detained valued at $747.4 million. Apparel, footwear, and textiles as well as industrial and manufacturing materials have also been primary detention targets with a combined 1,806 shipments detained worth $98.81 million since enforcement began in June 2022.”

These are pretty big numbers and there are a lot of interesting aspects to them. What I find striking is that 63% of the detained shipments were from “third-country manufacturing, where countries beyond China produce goods made with inputs from Xinjiang.” Just because a product doesn’t originate directly from China/XUAR doesn’t mean it will escape CBP scrutiny. If you need help with UFLPA due diligence processes to help prevent import detentions for your company’s products, check out our checklist “How to Navigate the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act“.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile