On July 26, 2022, Ashley Craig was quoted in Law360 on the key trade policy areas to watch during the second half of this year, including the government's campaign to eradicate forced labor from U.S. supply chains.
According to the article, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which bars most imports with components originating in China's Xinjiang region, cleared both the House and Senate with broad support in 2021. The law, which took effect at the end of June, is likely to gain momentum through increased calls for enforcement when lawmakers return from their August recess.
While importers largely want to comply with the letter and spirit of the law, there are likely to be some growing pains as companies try to discern the extent of their responsibility for sniffing out forced labor in their product supply chains, according to Craig. "There has been guidance coming out of [U.S. Customs and Border Protection]. There has been guidance coming from the [International Labour Organisation's] Tripartite Working Group, but there is still lots of concern from the importer community as to how deep to dig," Craig said.
"No one really can say how far you go, and there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding how it will be not only implemented, but more importantly enforced," Craig added.
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