FORCED LABOR: We ask you to take immediate notice of a situation certainly not new, known as “FORCED LABOR”.  CBP – U.S. CONGRESS and other NON-GOVERNMENT stakeholders are pushing hard trying to stop the proliferation of the utilization of FORCED LABOR throughout the globe.  What has brought this to the forefront is the findings in the Xinjiang region of China where situations have found that FORCED LABOR is being used in the production and harvesting of Cotton.  The basic legal provision that outlaws FORCED LABOR is 19USC 1307, where it states that “All goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor and/or forced labor and/or indentured labor under penal sanctions shall not be entitled to entry at any ports of the USA and importations thereof is hereby prohibited…”  The remainder of this notice is short but part of what we want to pass along or advise you of is, that importations of Stevia have been detained and seized by the U.S. Government, with penalty notices issued to the U.S. Importer.  Further it has been reported at the port of Blaine, Washington that containers of clothing were refused entry by CBP  because it was believed by CBP Officers that the clothing articles were made in whole or in part of Cotton manufactured with forced labor.  No proof of any such claim by CBP was necessary in making the CBP their assertion and in the end CBP invoked refusal of the shipments.  In order for the importer to bring the goods into the USA the importer was told to provide evidence of specifically who picked the source cotton.  Since no evidence could be timely provided the importer was forced to export the goods from the port of entry.

Many importers are not so lucky, having a choice to export their goods.  Many shipments are being held in General Order CBP storage facilities invoking massive storage costs, while the importer hopes and attempts to provide proof.  In most cases, the cost of storage while waiting for substantiating evidence can quickly exceed the value of the merchandise.  Other shipments have just been seized by CBP with penalty notices being issued to the importer with penalty amounts themselves being massively costly.

For those of you looking for more information there is an APP for your phone or tablet.  Look for an smart phone for an app., called Sweat & Toil.  The Regulatory Provisions for the issue of Forced Labor can be found at this website.

Again, please know that the burden of importation proof falls firmly on the importer of record (or non-resident importer of record . . . if the importer is domiciled in a country other than the USA).  The Government and Customs and Sanders Brokerage Services, strongly suggesting that importers complete their due diligence to ensure, their imported are not being manufactured or produced with FORCED LABOR.  This is not an issue solely with China.  There are probably 100 countries or more, listed within the Sweat & Toil application.

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