UFLPA: Overview of compliance challenges, best practices

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Passing Congress with broad bipartisan support and signed into law on December 23, 2021, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) continues a trend by Congress to strengthen US laws to fight against forced labor.[1] Specifically, the UFLPA targets goods coming from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), imposing a “rebuttable presumption” that goods having a nexus to XUAR are made with forced labor.

The UFLPA itself identifies three products—cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon—for extra scrutiny. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) subsequently targeted apparel and silica-based products, such as the raw materials used to make aluminum alloys, silicones, and polysilicon. More recently, the automotive industry has been under the microscope, and CBP is under pressure to scrutinize imports of automotive parts, steel, and aluminum.[2]

CBP has made clear that forced labor is a “top tier” enforcement priority. Since enactment of the UFLPA, CBP has detained over $1.4 billion in goods.[3] Initially, solar panel products were hit hard, and apparel, footwear, textiles, and manufacturing materials have also been detained. Additionally, CBP’s Dashboard shows goods being stopped from other countries, such as Malaysia and Vietnam.

In the context of increasingly complex supply chains, UFLPA enforcement has created a variety of compliance challenges for companies. This article discusses the UFLPA and provides thoughts on how companies should address the challenges posed by the law.

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