On December 23, 2021, President Biden signed into law H.R. 6256, known as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The act is intended to stem the importation of goods made with forced labor from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (the “Xinjiang Region”) into the United States. The act provides additional enforcement tools to supplement already existing protections against the import of goods produced by forced labor.
Implementation of the Act
The act directs a federal task force to develop a strategy for addressing importation of goods mined, produced, or manufactured in whole or in part using forced labor in China. This strategy is to be developed over an approximately four-month period and will include solicitation of public comments and a public hearing. The task force will submit a report outlining its strategy within six months after enactment of the act. The report must also include the following:
- A list of entities in the Xinjiang Region that mine, produce, or manufacture wholly or in part any goods, wares, articles and merchandise with forced labor;
- A list of entities working with the government of the Xinjiang Region to recruit, transport, transfer, harbor or receive forced labor or Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or members of other persecuted groups out of the Xinjiang Region;
- A list of products mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by entities on the list required by clause (i) or (ii);
- A list of entities that exported products described in clause (iii) from the People’s Republic of China into the United States;
- A list of facilities and entities, including the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, that source material from the Xinjiang Region or from persons working with the government of the Xinjiang Region or the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps for purposes of the “poverty alleviation” program or the “pairing-assistance” program or any other government labor scheme that uses forced labor;
- A plan for identifying additional facilities and entities described in clause (v);
- An enforcement plan for each such entity whose goods, wares articles, or merchandise are exported into the United States, which may include issuing withhold release orders to support enforcement of section 4 with respect to the entity;
- A list of high-priority sectors for enforcement, which shall include cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon; and
- An enforcement plan for each such high-priority sector. (emphasis added)
The task force will also provide importers of products potentially sourced using forced labor with additional guidance on how to identify and trace such products to limit their entry into the United States and to aid importers in locating and obtaining products that avoid the use of forced labor from regions or countries of concern. The guidance will include the following:
- Due diligence, effective supply chain tracing, and supply chain management measures to ensure that such importers do not import any goods mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor from the People’s Republic of China, especially from the Xinjiang Region;
- The type, nature, and extent of evidence that demonstrates that goods originating in the People’s Republic of China were not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Region; and
- The type, nature, and extent of evidence that demonstrates that goods originating in the People’s Republic of China, including goods detained or seized pursuant to section 307 of the Tariff …….