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On December 2, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Trade directed the issuance of a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against cotton products originating from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC).in China based on information that reasonably indicates the use of forced labor, including convict labor. The WRO applies to all cotton and cotton products produced by the XPCC and its subordinate and affiliated entities as well as any products that are made in whole or in part with or derived from that cotton, such as apparel, garments, and textiles.

The WRO on XPCC cotton products is the sixth enforcement action that CBP has announced in the past three months against goods made by forced labor from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In July 2020, the U.S. Government issued an advisory to caution businesses about the risks of forced labor in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government continues to execute a campaign of repression targeting the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minority groups.

Sec. 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1307) prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. This WRO will require detention at all U.S. ports of entry of all cotton products produced by the XPCC and any similar products that the XPCC produces. Importers of detained shipments are provided an opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.