A few posts ago, we posted an article on H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.  As predicted, President Obama signed the Act into law last week, which gave us an opportunity to talk with Rebekah Mintzer of Corporate Counsel Magazine on an article about the Act that she was working on.
Corporate Counsel’s article discusses the Act’s background in more detail, and points out that the problem of forced and child labor internationally is a larger problem than most people suspect.  The article also notes that the public can submit proposed additions to the Department of Labor’s list of suspect imports, which of course increases the risk that goods will be turned away or confiscated by Customs at the border.  The article also notes the increasing chance that companies have of attracting lawsuits if they misrepresent to the public what their supply chains are doing.
Sarah Rathke of SPB’s Global Supply Chain Law Blog was quoted, again making the point that the efficacy of the Act – and the resulting disruption to global supply chains – boils down to enforcement.  How rigorous will Customs be in turning away suspect goods?  What will the threshold be for determining whether goods are suspect?  So far, there has been no rule making on this issue, although the possibility for relevant rule making may present opportunities for companies, trade organizations, and lobbying groups.  Only time will tell.
To see the full text of the Corporate Counsel Article, “New Federal Law Cracks Down on Child and Forced Labor,” click here.