U.S. Customs to Add UFLPA Oversight to ACE, Step Up Enforcement on Forced Labor
Updated: Feb 20
Effective March 18, 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will launch the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) enhancement in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). This system augmentation will provide early notice to importers and their representative of any goods that may have been produced in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (XUAR), and therefore, may be banned from import into the United States.
The ACE enhancement includes three new validations:
• Mandatory postal code
• Error messages for invalid Chinese postal codes
• Warning messages for XUAR region postal codes
The UFLPA was signed into law on December 23, 2021 to help reinforce the U.S. policy against the importation of goods produced through forced labor. The act requires the Commissioner of CBP to presume that goods made in or by entities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, or in other countries that include inputs made in Xinjiang, involve the use of forced labor and are prohibited from entering the country. Importers must demonstrate due diligence, supply chain tracing and management measures in order to overcome this presumption, as well as following the guidance provided by the Department of Homeland Security's UFLPA Strategy. Enforcement of the UFLPA, which will apply to merchandise imported on or after June 21, 2022, includes the right to detain, exclude and/or seize the goods in question.
The UFLPA applies to all imported goods produced in Xinjiang or by entities on the UFLPA Entity List is prohibited in the United States, unless the Commissioner of CBP determines that specific goods have not been produced using forced labor. Importers must comply with specific conditions and provide clear and convincing evidence in order to be granted this waiver. Requests for exception can be submitted by importers during a detention, exclusion or seizure process. In reviewing such requests, CBP will prioritize those made by members in good standing of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) Trade Compliance.
Today, CBP is using the authority provided by the UFLPA to detain certain products that are believed to be linked to forced labor, specifically in the high priority product categories such as cotton, tomatoes, polysilicon and polyvinyl chloride. These products will undergo additional scrutiny to ensure they are not produced using forced labor. Importers should be certain to have their supply chain mapping and supplier documentation in order, to help facilitate CBP’s review of any shipments under detention.
Below, please find a summary of five (5) categories of information that may be required by CBP if a request for an exception to the UFLPA is submitted:
(A.) Due Diligence System Information
Documentation showing a due diligence system or process which may include:
Written supplier code of conduct forbidding the use of forced labor
Language addressing the risk of use of Chinese government labor schemes
(B.) Supply Chain Tracing Information
Documentation outlining the journey of the product in question from the acquisition of raw materials to the import of the final product.
Information that importers can provide, or that may be requested by CBP, to demonstrate that their imports are not impacted by the UFLPA because:
Their supply chains are completely separate from Xinjiang and not related to designated entities, OR
Their imports are free of forced labor and in compliance with the UFLPA.
(C.) Information on Supply Chain Management Measures
Documentation on supply chain management measures.
Example: An importer should be able to demonstrate that documents provided are part of an operating system or an accounting system that includes audited financial statement.
(D.) Evidence Goods Were Not Mined, Produced, or Manufactured Wholly or In Part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Documentation that clearly traces the supply chain for the goods.
(E.) Evidence Goods Originating in China Were Not Mined, Produced, or Manufactured Wholly or In Part by Forced Labor
• Example: Information on the fair payment/treatment of workers at each entity involved in production of the goods in China, such as wage payment and production output per worker.
The changes and enhancements related to the UFLPA will impact specific applications such as Cargo Release and Manufacturer Identification Code applications. If a warning message is received, trade users should inform the importers and consider whether an exception request is feasible. For more information and guidance on this matter, please visit the following link:
Questions or concerns about UFLPA requirements or specific products you are importing? Please contact Frank Carey, US Operations Manager and Corporate Customs Broker, at email@example.com or 704-207-4674.
*This guidance document reflects CBP’s interpretation of the UFLPA and other applicable laws and regulations enforced by CBP as of the date of publication of this guidance. This CBP guidance document does not in any way replace or supersede those laws or regulations. Only the latest official version of the applicable laws or regulations, as codified, is authoritative.