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Richard Mojica and Mary Mikhaeel Comment on Uyghur Forced Labor Guidance in International Trade Today

"Uyghur Forced Labor Guidance Likely Vague; Importers Should Begin Due Diligence Efforts Now, Lawyer Says"

International Trade Today

Speaking at webinar hosted by the Midwest Global Trade Association, Richard Mojica and Mary Mikhaeel discussed how they are helping companies prepare for U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). The UFLPA creates a rebuttable presumption that goods with a connection to Xinjiang were made with forced labor and their importation is prohibited and requires that the U.S. government provide guidance to importers regarding (1) the supply chain due diligence they are expected to conduct to ensure that their supply chains are free from forced labor and (2) the "type, nature, and extent of evidence" that importers of goods from China can use to sufficiently demonstrate to CBP that their goods were not made either by forced labor or in China's Xinjiang region. Mojica and Mikhaeel commented that importers should prepare for that guidance to be high-level and to "treat it like gravy" while maintaining the focus on their own, risk-based, human rights due diligence. Addressing the current enforcement climate, Mojica commented that, although convincing CBP to release detained merchandise is an uphill battle, "we're moving toward an environment where there is a process that can lead to the release of merchandise," (and goods are in fact being released) which has been a "very positive development."