From Supply Chain Management Review: Talking Supply Chain Podcast: The Legal Blacksmith

This is from Supply Chain Management Review‘s  Talking Supply Chain Podcast.  Please contact Sarah Rathke with any questions.

Partner Sarah Rathke, who co-authored The Legal Blacksmith with Rosemary Coates, discusses the legal implications of today’s supply chain crisis including the disputes supply chain partners face due to disruptions and labor and materials shortages with Bob Trebilcock of Editorial Director of Supply Chain Management Review.

You can listen to the podcast here and can subscribe to the Talking Supply Chain Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.


Cross-Post from Restructuring GlobalView Blog – Supply Chain Risk and Increasing Costs: How Are UK Businesses Building Resilience?

This is a Cross-Post from the Restructuring GlobalView Blog.  Please contact Simon Garbett with any questions. 

Partner Simon Garbett discusses the impact on the supply chain following the lifting of the coronavirus restrictions in the UK.  To learn how UK businesses are addressing the supply chain issues, read the full article here.

Upcoming Webinar: Why Is Everything Broken? Understanding Supply Chains in 2021

Partner Sarah Rathke is pleased to present “Why Is Everything Broken? Understanding Supply Chains in 2021” on December 9, 2021 at 11 a.m. EDT. This webinar will discuss the causes of the current supply chain logjams, put them into historical context and will outline various paths forward.

As the holidays approach, our sponsor and our speaker would like to help the many families in need this time of year, so we are encouraging all registrants to donate to a local food bank or please consider donating to Sarah’s preferred organization, Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

If you would like to attend, please register here.

Cross-Post from Reuters: AI fixes for supply chain logjams carry legal risks

This is a Cross-Post by Reuters.  Please contact Sarah Rathke with any questions.

Partner Sarah Rathke discussed with Reuters on how A.I. and digital twin technology can aid to help solve supply chain disruptions and the potential data privacy complications companies might encounter when  sharing detailed supply chain data.  You can view the video interview here.

Cross-Post from Am Law Litigation Daily – Squire Patton Boggs Litigator and Supply Chain Expert Sarah Rathke on the ‘Mess All Over the System’

This is an article published by The Am Law Litigation Daily.  Please contact Sarah Rathke with any questions.

The global pandemic has landed the manufacturing supply chain in unchartered territory.  SPB Partner Sarah Rathke recently spoke with Am Law Litigation Daily to discuss the supply chain mess from a legal perspective.  The article here recaps the conversation on the changes and the future of supply chain disputes.


A New Tariff Exclusion Process For Some, But Not For All

This is a Cross-Post from the Capital Thinking Blog.  Please contact Rory Murphy and Nicole Golden with any questions.

The Biden Administration made its first step in outlining President Biden’s China trade policy including a new tariff exclusion process that will effect some.  Rory Murphy and Nicole Golden discuss the two notable takeaways from a US business perspective.  Read the full article here.

Cross-Post From Capital Thinking Blog – Lawmakers Propose New Import Ban Targeting Commodities Produced on Illegally Deforested Land

This is a Cross-Post from the Capital Thinking Blog.  Please contact Ludmilla Kasulke and Yiannis Vandris with any questions. 

Recent legislation aimed at reducing commodity-driven illegal deforestation around the world calls for transparency in companies’ global supply chains.  Our colleagues Ludmilla Kasulke and Yiannis Vandris discuss the details of the Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act in their article here.

Cross-Post From Capital Thinking Blog – Update: Biden Officials Request Comments on Challenges Facing Key Sectoral Supply Chain Disputes

This is a Cross-Post from Capital Thinking blog.  Please contact Ludmilla Kasulke with any questions.

As Milla Kasulke reports at our Capital Thinking Blog, the Department of Defense is seeking comments on four supply chain topics identified by the agency, in connection with President Biden’s February 24, 2021 Executive Order entitled, “America’s Supply Chains.”  Comments are due later this fall.  Find out more here.

We’re In The WSJ!

We made the Wall Street Journal today in an article discussing recent efforts by suppliers to provide for greater price flexibility in their supply chain contracts, quoting supply chain partner Sarah Rathke. While price escalation clauses are well known in some industries (for instance, energy) and in some geographical markets (for instance, at times, in Latin America), US-based manufacturing supply chain contracts largely do not address price adjustment to account for scarcity and/or inflation – which sometimes are one and the same thing. Contracting 101 might suggest that if suppliers fear inflationary risk, it might be sensible to include a price escalation clause tied to a well known index, such as the US Consumer Price Index. More often, however, it is better and more precise to use a published index used for the specific industry or product in question. Other important questions when considering price escalation clauses include how often pricing should be re-examined, whether prices can be adjusted down as well as up, and whether to include pricing caps.

Read the article here.

Trend Alert: Federal Oversight of Unaccompanied Minor Labor Trafficking Targets Agricultural Sector

Companies based or doing business in agricultural areas in the U.S. could soon be under increased scrutiny from the federal government, including Congressional investigators, stemming from labor trafficking of unaccompanied migrant children and teens.

This year alone, over 90,000 minors attempted to cross the U.S.  When stopped at or near the border, the children are placed in shelters managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) while arrangements are made for their placement.  To avoid overcrowding and decrease the time spent in HHS custody, the department quickly works to find placement for the children with relatives, foster programs, or other U.S. sponsors.

Unaccompanied migrant teens are at a heightened risk of being subjected to labor trafficking.  Many teens are coerced into leaving their native countries by promises of a better life in the U.S only to face harsh working conditions.  To illustrate – in 2015, a federal indictment revealed that HHS released several children to traffickers who forced them to work at egg farms in Ohio after promising the children good jobs and the chance to attend school.

HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement recently stopped releasing children to both Enterprise, Alabama and Woodburn, Oregon, out of concern for the wellbeing of the children released into the area.  This moratorium was prompted by HHS’ awareness of an influx in sponsorships coming from agriculture-dense areas – Enterprise is populated with chicken slaughterhouses and Woodburn is filed with agricultural land.

The Department of Justice Human Prosecution Unit also uncovered that dozens of unaccompanied teens were being released to the same sponsor and forced to work in poultry processing industries and similar facilities in other jurisdictions.

As the federal government become aware of these practices and grow concerned with what happens after the children are released from HHS custody, companies could be subjected to increased federal oversight from both HHS and DOJ, and possibly auditing to make sure they are not involved in the labor trafficking.

Companies should also be aware of the potential for increased scrutiny from Congress. Congressional investigators at the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations have focused on labor trafficking of migrant children, and have issued several reports calling for changes to the oversight and monitoring of migrant children to prevent these abuses.

There is also some risk that companies may someday be held liable for producing goods with the use of the forced labor of migrant children.

Similar to the proposed Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, the influx in unaccompanied minors being sponsored in high agricultural areas could create a rebuttable presumption that the goods were produced by trafficked migrant children, resulting in heightened scrutiny and auditing.

As federal oversight in this area increases, companies should assess their workforce and supply chain to ensure that they are taking adequate steps to guard against abuses of migrant children, and to prepare to address questions from federal regulators and Congress about their practices.