CBP Makes Announcements on Forced Labor during AAEI Webinar

September 10, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) delivered breaking news during AAEI’s webinar on Forced Labor Enforcement.

CBP soon will publish an update clarifying its timeline for petitions and investigations of alleged violations of forced labor suspected in U.S. import shipments, information that has not been made available yet. CBP is permitting AAEI to share a snapshot of it now.

As the graphic shows, the process for forced labor enforcement begins with an allegation made by the public or another government agency. In the first 30-days, CBP conducts a preliminary review to accept, refer or reject the allegation, often depending on whether a suspected shipment arrives at U.S. port.

If it accepts the allegation, CBP then determines whether there’s reasonable suspicion to issue a Withhold Release Order (WRO). That can take between 3-to-6 months after CBP receives the allegation.

CBP says it can take up to a year to determine whether there’s enough probable cause to issue a finding. That can involve gathering more evidence, developing analysis and assessment and conducting an internal review.

CBP says it will include the timeline in its upcoming report to Congress on Forced Labor Enforcement. It also will be posted on CBP’s website.

Additionally, CBP announced that it recently added a second investigative branch within the Forced Labor division along with two new branch chiefs, as well as supplemented its investigative intake branch.

AAEI’s webinar featured Ana Hinojosa, Executive Director at CBP’s Trade Remedy and Law Enforcement Directorate. Attendees received candid answers to their questions on this topic as the webinar was off-the-record.