On June 1, 2022, US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Trade Relations hosted a webinar on forthcoming implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). Half of the webinar focused on the history, enactment, and text of the UFLPA (discussed in this blog’s previous posts here, here, and here), while the second half addressed questions from online attendees.
Starting June 21st, imports into the United States subject to the UFLPA will be subject to the detention process set out under 19 U.S.C § 1499. As a result, any goods imported into the United States from the Xinjiang region will immediately be detained, excluded, or seized. If an importer believes its goods are free of forced labor, then the importer will need to show by clear and convincing evidence that forced labor was not used to make the goods, or any input thereof, no matter how small.
During the webinar, multiple participants asked what evidence would be considered “clear and convincing” to overcome the rebuttable presumption. While CBP officials did not list the exact evidence needed to overcome the presumption, they did indicate that the bar to rebut the rebuttable presumption will be very high and offered a few pieces of advice—such as submitting any evidence in English—to aid in a quick review of the evidence while goods are detained.
CBP officials also indicated that they will issue strategy guidance relating to the UFLPA within the next week, while the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force will issue its required guidance on June 21st—the date UFLPA goes into effect.
The launch of UFLPA implementation later this month is expected to lead to significant delays, as CBP holds shipments and works to compile and submit the necessary information to rebut UFLPA’s presumption. Our firm is working with clients daily to prepare for June 21st, including by reviewing supply chains and advising on CBP and the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force’s guidance issued to date.