We recently advised our readers of the 12 Questions on Forced Labor the import community must answer in order to comply with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) amended Reasonable Care Checklist. This checklist was released September 2017 to:

  1. Comply with the informed compliance requirement of Title VI of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057) (Mod Act) and,
  2. Help the trade community improve voluntary compliance with customs laws and to understand the relevant administrative processes.

Under section 484 of the Tariff Act, 19 U.S.C. § 1484, the importer of record is responsible for using reasonable care to enter, classify, and determine the value of imported merchandise and to provide any other information necessary to enable CBP to properly assess duties, collect accurate statistics, and determine whether other applicable legal requirements, if any, have been met. CBP’s amended reasonable care checklist extends an importer’s responsibility to ensure it has taken reliable measures to ensure imported goods are not produced wholly or in part with convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor (including forced or indentured child labor).

On August 2, 2017, Congress passed the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, which contains a provision affecting the entry of merchandise with a nexus to North Korean nationals or citizens. Since then there have been fifteen seizures of merchandise believed to have been made manufactured using forced labor.

Why Does CBP Encourage Importers To Conduct Supply Chain Due Diligence?  

By the time a product is sold in the U.S., it usually has gone through a long supply chain, which includes various producers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. It is very difficult to determine, with certainty, whether goods have been produced using forced labor. Therefore, CBP encourages importers to have a comprehensive and transparent social compliance system in place and to hire independent or third-party auditors to perform unannounced audits to evaluate risks in their supply chain.

What Tools Do You Need to Comply with CBP’s Mandated Reasonable Care and Forced Labor Requirements?

To assist importers satisfy their reasonable care obligations as mandated under section 484 of the Tariff Act, 19 U.S.C. § 1484, CBP issues rulings and informed compliance publications on a variety of technical subjects and processes. Additionally, CBP has released detailed Fact Sheets, including: Forced Labor – Importer Due Diligence Fact Sheet, Forced Labor Procedures Fact Sheet, and Force Labor Detained Shipments Fact Sheet.  We highly recommend our readers from the import community to review and implement CBP’s suggestions.

To comply with the reasonable care and forced labor requirements, importers should review the following publications:

  • The DOL’s Comply Chain website
    • This website provides information on how to create an effective social compliance system.
  • The Responsible Sourcing Tool’s website.
    • This website provides information to help understand:
      • How risk enters your supply chain
      • Where risk is most likely to affect your supply chain
      • How to implement best practices by creating strong policies; screening suppliers and evaluating their performance; and creating and maintaining a continual improvement system that identifies risk, implements improvements, and monitors performance.

BE PROACTIVE. Help CBP by reporting allegations of forced labor violations to its e-Allegation portal. CBP acts on information concerning specific manufacturers/exporters and specific merchandise. Allegations may be reported anonymously. The more detailed and timely the information is provided, the more likely the enforcement action can be successful. As an incentive for the trade community to assist, CBP will compensate parties who provide original information that leads to the recovery of any penalty, fine, or forfeiture of merchandise. The parties are eligible to seek compensation of up to $250,000, under 19 U.S.C. § 1619.

To avoid having your merchandise seized (or for a due diligence checkup), contact us today at info@diaztradelaw.com or 305-456-3830. Diaz Trade Law can help ensure that you have taken all the precautions to comply with CBP’s mandated Reasonable Care and Forced Labor requirements.