On Wednesday, the Senate passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (S.65) which includes what is effectively a ban on imports from the Xinjiang (Uyghur) region of China. Under the bill, goods imported from this region will be assumed to have been made with forced labor unless the Commissioner of Customs & Border Protection gives an exception. The bill would be an escalation of the current policy of issuing Withhold Release Orders (WRO) for goods suspected of being made with forced labor.
At this time cotton, tomatoes and some solar products from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are subject to a WRO. Once a shipment is placed on hold, the importer must, in order to import the goods, be able to provide proof that their product is not, and does not include parts or processing produced with forced labor. The solar panel market in particular is expected to be heavily impacted if this bill is enacted into law. About 45% of the world’s supply of polysilicon, a key component of solar panels, is produced in Xinjiang.
While goods from China are most often targeted, a WRO can be issued for any imported item reasonably suspected of being produced by forced labor. Over the past two years the US has steadily stepped up enforcement of the laws in place to combat forced labor. Xinjiang has been a focal point of these efforts due to the widely denounced repression and abuse of the Uyghur ethnic minority in the area. Sen. Marco Rubio, who authored the now enacted Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, is a sponsor of S.65 and applauded the bill’s passage in the Senate. As the bill has bipartisan support, it is expected to easily pass the House and be signed into law by President Biden.
Sam McClure, LCB
Director of Compliance & Customs Services
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Meet one of CVI’s Customs Brokerage & Compliance experts, Sam McClure:
Sam serves as Director, Compliance and Customs Services for CVI. He serves as CVI’s corporate compliance officer and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of our Customs related services, including growth.
Sam started his career in 1977 with Waters Shipping Company in Charlotte, NC. He began as a document runner, soon becoming a leader in operations and customer service for the branch. Sam, along with Linda Masten, founded Central Carolina Shipping Inc. in 1983 as an independent Customs Brokerage firm where he served as Vice President for 26 years. Sam and Linda grew Central Carolina into a successful and highly respected member of the Carolinas trade community. When Charlotte opened their local chapter of the IFFCBA Sam was part of the organizing group and he headed the Customs committee for several years. Sam obtained his Customs Brokers License in 1984 and remained with Central Carolina until the company was acquired by CVI in 2009.
At CVI, Sam has held several positions in both the operations and sales departments. As an expert in U.S. Customs regulations, Sam is often called upon on to provide guidance to importers on Customs compliance issues. He makes regular presentations on matters related to importation and broader regulatory compliance.
– Sam McClure, LCB, Director of Compliance & Customs Services, CVI
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