MIL-OSI USA: DHS Adds PRC-Based Seafood, Aluminum, and Footwear Entities to Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Enforcement List

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Source: US Federal Emergency Management Agency

Headline: DHS Adds PRC-Based Seafood, Aluminum, and Footwear Entities to Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Enforcement List

UFLPA Entity List Currently Restricts Goods from 68 PRC-Based Companies From Entering the United States  

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the addition of three People’s Republic of China (PRC)-based seafood, aluminum, and footwear companies to the Uygur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List. Through these actions, DHS is increasing its focus on seafood, aluminum, and shoes—sectors that play an important role in Xinjiang’s economy – and ensuring goods made with forced labor are kept out of the U.S. market.

Effective June 12, 2024, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will apply a rebuttable presumption that goods produced by these entities will be prohibited from entering the United States. By identifying entities found to utilize and/or facilitate the forced labor of Uyghurs and other persecuted groups from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), the UFLPA Entity List provides companies with more information about the potential involvement of forced labor in their supply chains.

The entities being added to the UFLPA Entity List today include Dongguan Oasis Shoes Co., Ltd. (also known as Dongguan Oasis Shoe Industry Co., Ltd.; Dongguan Luzhou Shoes Co., Ltd.; and Dongguan Lvzhou Shoes Co., Ltd.), Shandong Meijia Group Co., Ltd. (also known as Rizhao Meijia Group), and Xinjiang Shenhuo Coal and Electricity Co., Ltd.

“The Department of Homeland Security will not tolerate forced labor in U.S. supply chains and will enforce our laws across all industries and sectors,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We will continue to investigate companies that use or facilitate forced labor and will hold those entities responsible. We urge stakeholders across industry, civil society and our international partners to work with us to eliminate the scourge of forced labor.”

The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), chaired by DHS, is taking these steps as part of the United States’ commitment to eradicating forced labor, and promoting accountability for the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Including the three entities identified today, the FLETF—whose member agencies include the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Justice, Labor, State, and the Treasury—has added 68 entities to the UFLPA Entity List since the UFLPA was signed into law in December 2021. In the last 12 months alone, the Entities List has grown by 240 percent, reflecting our strong commitment to increase enforcement. These entities are active in a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, apparel, batteries, chemicals, electronics, food additives, household appliances, nonferrous metals, polysilicon, and plastics. Identifying these entities also increases transparency on the presence of forced labor in supply chains.

“Today’s action, which includes entities from within and outside Xinjiang, and from three different industry sectors—footwear, seafood, and aluminum—reaffirms our commitment to robust enforcement of the UFLPA,” said DHS Under Secretary for Policy Robert Silvers, who serves as Chair of the FLETF. “We have shown again through today’s enforcement actions that the United States is taking concrete steps to keep goods made with forced labor out of U.S. supply chains.  It is imperative for companies to conduct due diligence and know where their products are coming from. The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force will continue to designate entities that meet the UFLPA’s criteria for inclusion on the Entity List, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue its vigilant enforcement at our ports.”

The FLETF has reasonable cause to believe, based on specific and articulable information, that each of the three entities works with the government of the XUAR to recruit, transport, transfer, harbor or receive forced labor or Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or members of other persecuted group out of the XUAR. The FLETF therefore determined that the three entities satisfy the criteria for addition to the UFLPA Entity List described in Section 2(d)(2)(B)(ii).

Shandong Meijia Group Co., Ltd. (also known as Rizhao Meijia Group), is a company based in Shandong Province, China, that processes, sells, and exports frozen seafood products, vegetables, quick-frozen convenience food, and other aquatic foods. Information reviewed by the FLETF, including publicly available information, indicates that Shandong Meijia Group Co., Ltd. participated in XUAR government-sponsored labor transfer programs to transfer and receive individuals from persecuted groups, including Uyghurs, out of the XUAR for labor at its factory in Shandong.

“Shrimp supply chains have a disturbing pattern of profiting off of the globe’s most vulnerable populations. Argentinian red shrimp packed by Uyghurs in Chinese seafood processing plants should not be competing with wholesome products in American grocery stores,” said John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force’s initiative to counter forced labor in seafood supply chains sends a strong message to U.S. seafood importers that chasing lower costs and higher margins cannot replace ethical and legal obligations.”

Dongguan Oasis Shoes Co., Ltd. (also known as Dongguan Oasis Shoe Industry Co., Ltd.; Dongguan Luzhou Shoes Co., Ltd.; and Dongguan Lvzhou Shoes Co., Ltd.) is an entity headquartered in Guangdong Province, China, that produces and manufactures shoes and shoe material products. Information reviewed by the FLETF, including publicly available information, indicates that Dongguan Oasis Shoes Co., Ltd. cooperated with the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) to recruit, transfer, and receive individuals from persecuted groups, including Uyghurs, out of the XUAR for labor at its factory in Guangdong.

Xinjiang Shenhuo Coal and Electricity Co., Ltd. is a company located in the XUAR that produces electrolytic aluminum, graphite carbon, and prebaked anodes. Information reviewed by the FLETF, including publicly available information, indicates that Xinjiang Shenhuo Coal and Electricity Co., Ltd. participated in a XUAR government-sponsored labor transfer program and worked with XUAR government entities to cooperate with the XUAR government to recruit, transfer, and receive individuals from persecuted groups, including Uyghurs, out of the XUAR.

The bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, signed into law by President Biden in December 2021, mandates that CBP apply a rebuttable presumption that goods that are mined, produced, or manufactured in the XUAR or produced by entities identified on the UFLPA Entity List are prohibited from importation into the United States unless the Commissioner of CBP determines, by clear and convincing evidence, that the goods were not produced with forced labor. CBP began enforcing the UFLPA in June 2022. Since then, CBP has reviewed almost 8,500 shipments valued at more than $3.3 billion under the UFLPA Additionally, Homeland Security Investigations, through the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking, supports investigations and outreach to secure international cooperation in investigating human rights abuses and forced labor.

Today’s announcement supports the memorandum President Biden signed in November 2023 on advancing worker empowerment, rights, and high labor standards globally. The memorandum represents the first whole-of-government approach to advance workers’ rights by directing federal agencies engaged abroad to advance international recognized labor rights, which includes DHS’ work implementing the UFLPA.

This expansion of the UFLPA Entity List reflects DHS’ prioritization of efforts to combat the introduction of forced labor into U.S. supply chains. This commitment is outlined in the Department’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, which added combating crimes of exploitation, including labor exploitation, as the newest and sixth DHS mission.

You can read more about the FLETF by visiting: www.dhs.gov/uflpa.     

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