KUALA LUMPUR, March 30– The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has directed personnel at all US ports of entry to begin seizing disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove Corporation Bhd.
The CBP Office of Trade, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, published an alleged forced labour finding against disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove in the Customs Bulletin and in the Federal Register.
The CBP said that it believes Top Glove uses forced labour in the production of disposable gloves.
Merchandise covered by the forced labour finding is subject to seizure upon arrival at a US port of entry.
“Today’s (alleged) forced labour finding is the result of a month-long CBP investigation aimed at preventing goods made by modern slavery from entering US commerce,” Troy Miller, the senior official performing the duties of the commissioner for US CBP, said in a statement released on the CBP official website.
Miller noted that the CBP would not tolerate foreign companies’ exploitation of vulnerable workers to sell cheap, unethically-made goods to American consumers.
The finding expands upon a Withhold Release Order (WRO) that CBP issued in July 2020. The WRO was based on reasonable but not conclusive information that multiple forced labour indicators exist in Top Glove’s production process, including debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents.
Separately, Top Glove, in a statement, said its US counsels are liaising with representatives from the US CBP to obtain more clarity and information on CBP’s recent Finding Information Document.
“In the meantime, Top Glove had earlier submitted the report prepared by an independent international consultant, Impactt, to CBP for review.”
Impactt was appointed by Top Glove in July 2020 to verify its labour practices. Impactt has since published a statement on March 9, 2021 confirming that as at January 2021, and considering the group’s ongoing actions, these findings did not amount to systemic forced labour.
At 9.09am, shares of Top Glove declined 3.37 per cent to RM4.88.