New Law Closes Forced Labor Import Loophole
President Obama signed a bill on February 24 that prohibits the importation of goods into the U.S. that were produced by convicts, or forced or indentured labor. The bill closes a loophole in the Tariff Act of 1930, that allowed goods produced through forced labor into the U.S. if demand exceeded domestic production.
In removing the loophole, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act opens the door for stricter enforcement of goods produced via forced labor. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expected to issue guidelines on how they will implement the new law soon.
Investigations begin when Customs receives notice of evidence that shows “reasonably but not conclusively” that goods are produced through forced labor. Human rights groups are expected to draw from a list of 350 products including peanuts, carpets, seafood and gold, that are produced through forced or child labor in their initial petitions.
PPAI’s Code of Conduct addresses the principles of social compliance that companies adhere to and require their factories/suppliers to adhere to with regard to social responsibility. The code states, “We will not use any form of forced labor, including indentured, prison, bonded or slave labor. We will not use physical or verbal harassment or abuse to discipline employees.” Click here to learn more about the PPAI Code of Conduct.