Congress Questions Enforcement of Forced Labor Act


The lead sponsors of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA),  have written a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary, Robert P. Silvers, expressing concerns about the transparency and effectiveness of the law's enforcement.

The legislation, which enjoys broad bipartisan support, aims to combat forced labor practices in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) highlight issues with the applicability review process for detained goods, the limited number of entities on the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force's Entity List, and challenges in addressing transshipment from third countries.

The letter calls for greater transparency and information regarding the law's implementation and expresses concerns about the release of detained goods without public or congressional reporting.

Additionally, the lawmakers ask for an expansion of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) Entity List, which identifies entities engaged in forced labor.

The bipartisan group acknowledged the challenges of enforcing the UFLPA amid global supply chains and seeks to address issues of transshipment from third countries. They request an update on the implementation strategy, tools, and resources needed to tackle this challenge effectively.

The lawmakers ask for information on the enforcement of UFLPA in relation to "de minimis" shipments from China, which allow vendors to send materials without reporting basic data if the value is under $800. The group cites concerns about Chinese companies such as SHEIN and TEMU using this loophole for direct-to-consumer purchases.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China plans to hold a hearing with a panel of experts on trade, forced labor, and labor trafficking to further examine the UFLPA's implementation. 



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