History of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA)
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) is a significant piece of legislation aimed at preventing the importation of goods manufactured using forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China. While the UFLPA was primarily designed to address human rights abuses committed against Uyghur Muslims in China, its application is much broader. As a part of US Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) efforts to ensure that imported goods are not made using forced labor, the UFLPA builds upon previous legislation such as the Law on the Prohibition of Imports Made with Forced Labor and the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. CBP has been regularly updating UFLPA as conditions and relations shift.
The UFLPA reflects the US government's commitment to international and domestic labor laws, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UFLPA aims to close the loophole in the Law on the Prohibition of Imports Made with Forced Labor, which previously allowed the importation of goods produced using forced labor if they were not produced domestically in sufficient quantities to meet demand. Under the UFLPA, if information suggests that goods are being imported using forced labor, CBP may issue a withhold release order that bans the importation of those goods.
The UFLPA also requires importers to exercise due diligence in preventing the importation of goods made with forced labor, including child labor. The US Department of Labor's definition of "forced labor" is based on ILO Convention No. 29, which defines it as work or service extracted from a person under the threat of penalty, which the person has not offered voluntarily. The UFLPA also defines "child labor" based on ILO Convention 138 on the Minimum Age and ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.
The UFLPA is an important step in the fight against human rights abuses committed against Uyghur Muslims in China and in ensuring that goods imported into the US are not made using forced labor. By requiring importers to exercise due diligence and prohibiting the importation of goods produced using forced labor, the UFLPA sends a strong message that the US will not tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable workers. Furthermore, by adhering to international and domestic labor laws and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, CBP is setting a precedent for responsible and ethical business practices.
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Looking for updated information on the UFLPA? Check out our article here.
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