Supply Chain

The Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, seeks nominations for immediate consideration to fill positions on the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (“The Committee”).

President Biden presided over the first meeting of his newly-created Council on Supply Chain Resilience, formed to prevent the shortages in medical and consumer products that took place during the global pandemic.  His Administration’s efforts to strengthen US supply chains also means more domestic manufacturing and less reliance on imports, the President said. “Today, our supply chains are stronger than ever, with backlogs, bottlenecks, and shipping rates at a 25-year low,” he said. “We've created 14 million new jobs, including 800,000 manufacturing jobs.”

House China hawks called for an immediate investigation of all Chinese Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) companies to determine whether their activities justify inclusion on US government restricted entities lists.  LiDAR technologies have broad applications in navigation and control, including autonomous systems. "Given the importance of LiDAR, it is crucial to ensure U.S. technology used in foreign LiDAR systems are not being leveraged by our adversaries to create autonomous military vehicles and weapons. Urgent action is also needed to stop LiDAR produced by state-backed entities from foreign adversary countries to proliferate in the U.S. market or gain access to U.S. capital markets or U.S. critical infrastructure systems," the lawmakers wrote.

Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released proposed guidance on the clean vehicle provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) provides clarity and certainty around the IRA’s foreign entity of concern (FEOC) requirements.  Beginning in 2024, an eligible clean vehicle may not contain any battery components that are manufactured or assembled by a FEOC, and, beginning in 2025, an eligible clean vehicle may not contain any critical minerals that were extracted, processed, or recycled by a FEOC.

As the Department of Energy sets to distributing $6 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,  to support domestic battery material processing, manufacturing, and recycling,  the Department is required prioritize material processing and manufacturing applicants that will not use battery material supplied by or originating from a “foreign entity of concern” (FEOC). Recognizing that it may be difficult to definitively evaluate the contractual relationships of upstream suppliers, DOE is also considering whether to provide entities with the opportunity to voluntarily request a review of contracts and licensing arrangements by DOE in order to provide additional certainty regarding whether effective control by a FEOC is present.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced  that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Autoliv Steering Wheels Mexico facility in El Marqués in the state of Quéretaro are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Allegations against the Swedish airbag giant include firing workers in retaliation for union activity, making coercive statements that interfere with workers’ rights and denying access to the facility for union-related activity.

The Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) is prioritizing the investigation and prosecution of timber trafficking offenses, including through the recent creation of the TIMBER Enforcement Working Group. This has led to the largest-ever fine for timber trafficking, restitution to foreign countries for illegally sourced timber and insight into how trafficking works.

Representative Chris Smtih (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) of the bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) sent letters Oct. 31 inquiring about Costco and ADI's selling of banned products with ties to China.

The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) held a hearing last week on forced labor in China’s seafood industry and how seafood caught and processed with forced labor ends up in the U.S. supply chains. The CECC’s Chairs, Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) were joined at the hearing by Commissioner Thea Lee, the Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs at the Department of Labor.  In his opening statement Mr. Smith cited the work of The Outlaw Ocean Project whose reporting exposed a “disconcerting pattern of People’s Republic of China (PRC) based companies exploiting the forced labor of Uyghurs and North Koreans to process substantial quantities of seafood destined for the U.S. market.

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced Monday that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Asiaway Automotive Components Mexico facility in San Luis Potosiare being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Asiaway Automotive Components Mexico performs die casting and machining of aluminum parts for "Tier One" suppliers such as Magna, Cummins, and Robert Bosch, as well as General Motors and BMW. The plant opened in June of 2023 and employs 300 workers.   Parent company Ningbo Asiaway Automotive Components Co.,Ltd is a privately held company based in Ningbo, an industrial hub near Shanghai. 

The Administration is being slow in carrying out enforcement activities to prevent goods made with forced labor from entering the US market, Congressional lawmakers and witnesses at a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing. Customs and Border Protection needs to take a more proactive approach to enforcing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, Homeland Security oversight, accountability and enforcement subcommittee Chairman Dan Bishop (R-NC) commented.

After being cited twice for unfair labor practices under the USMCA, Troy Michigan-based VU Manufacturing has reportedly closed their automotive components facility in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico.  "[R]ather than comply with the terms of the remediation plan and ensure it is operating consistent with Mexican labor laws, the United States understands that Manufacturas VU has closed the facility and ended operations in Mexico,” read a USTR statement.

The Commerce Department has launched an updated Semiconductor Alert Mechanism to detect supply chain disruptions and bottlenecks. The Semiconductor Alert Mechanism aims to help industry experts at Commerce detect and assess bottlenecks in the semiconductor supply chains and better mobilize and coordinate US government resources to reduce chokepoint risks.

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced today that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Teklas Automotive facility in Aguascalientes, which manufactures automotive parts, are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Child Labor Report Issued The Labor Department released its annual report on the worst forms of child labor, spotlighting child labor abuses globally and reviewing progress made by some …

An Addendum to the 2021 Updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory calls attention to the China’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and the evidence of widespread use of forced labor there. The addendum urges businesses and individuals to continue to undertake appropriate human rights due diligence measures to identify potential supply chain links to entities operating in Xinjiang, entities linked to Xinjiang (e.g., through the pairing program, Xinjiang supply chain inputs, or the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC)), entities included in the UFLPA Entity List, or entities using the labor of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or members of other persecuted groups from Xinjiang.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the addition of three Chinese manufacturers to the Uyghur Forced Labor blacklist which, if enforced, could greatly impact the US vinyl flooring industry. China accounts for 63% of all vinyl floor tiling shipped to the United States in the last two years, and Vietnam comes in second at 20%.  Materially all of the PVC in these shipments is sourced from the Uyghur region, including transshipments through Vietnam.

Four Republican House Committee Chairs sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas criticizing the implementation and enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), complaining that not enough has been done to penalize violators, and calling for more resources to be dedicated to enforcement.   

While Ford Motor Company announced on September 25 that it has paused its partnership with world’s leading EV battery maker, Republican lawmakers complain that Ford will not release confidential business information pertaining to its agreement to license Chinese technology.

On September 18, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) updated the Withhold Release Order (WRO) issued against Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its subsidiaries following the remediation of forced …

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