In “U.S. Steps Up Enforcement on Apparel Imports Over Forced Labor in Xinjiang,” Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) turned to government and regulatory affairs counsel Mollie Sitkowski for insight on how U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is pushing retailers and importers to rethink their supply chains.
According to WWD, the agency issued a pair of withhold release orders in December and January to halt the import of products made with forced labor in Xinjiang, China, particularly cotton. As a result, U.S. Customs has taken a central and more aggressive role in enforcing its updated policies.
“They’re very enforcement-minded on it,” said Sitkowski about the CBP. “We’ve had a couple of clients be able to prove that the cotton itself in their product was not actually sourced from Xinjiang. They have records indicating it was sourced from elsewhere, like Brazil. But CBP continues to hold the shipment and say, ‘That’s fine, but now you have to prove to us that there’s no forced labor in your supply chain generally.’”