U.S. Customs and Border Safety has blocked imports of sugar and sugar-based merchandise from a Dominican Republic-based firm due to its alleged use of pressured labor, a transfer that comes amid a broader crackdown.
U.S. Customs will detain uncooked sugar and sugar-based merchandise produced within the Dominican Republic by Central Romana Corp. after the company uncovered a number of indicators of pressured labor.
“The company will proceed to set a excessive international normal by aggressively investigating allegations of pressured labor in U.S. provide chains and protecting tainted merchandise out of the US,” Customs Appearing Commissioner
mentioned in an announcement Wednesday.
“We disagree vehemently with the choice as we don’t imagine it displays the details about our firm and the therapy of our staff,” Central Romana mentioned.
In 2020, the U.S. put collectively a process power to go after corporations utilizing pressured labor, and in current months has promised aggressive motion.
Consideration has largely centered on China’s Xinjiang area, residence to the nation’s Uyghur minority and the main target of a focused anti-forced labor legislation that got here into impact in June. However the U.S. intends to deploy its beefed-up assets to fight pressured labor worldwide, mentioned
an undersecretary on the Division of Homeland Safety and chairman of the duty power.
“We’re not a one-trick pony,” Mr. Silvers instructed The Wall Avenue Journal’s Danger & Compliance Discussion board earlier this month. “We’re wanting extra broadly than [Xinjiang] and now we have the bandwidth and assets to take action.”
Central Romana, which additionally has companies in tourism, providers and manufacturing, is the biggest sugar producer within the Dominican Republic.
The corporate touts its social and environmental stances, saying on its web site that it had offered no-cost housing to greater than 5,000 staff and had paid out about $19.7 million value of bonuses after this yr’s harvest.
U.S. Customs enforces dozens of energetic “withhold launch orders,” which direct its brokers to detain flagged items at U.S. ports. Wednesday’s motion towards Central Romana is the one energetic WRO to focus on a Dominican Republic-based firm, in response to the company.
Write to Richard Vanderford at Richard.Vanderford@wsj.com
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