Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act Helps U.S. CBP Combat Forced Labor
September 8th, 2016
Passed in February 2016, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA) strengthens the ability of U.S Agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE), to carry out their respective trade enforcement and facilitation missions. One notable section of the TFTEA eliminates the ‘consumptive demand’ clause which, until the Bill’s passage, had allowed for the U.S. to import goods that were knowingly produced with forced labor if U.S. domestic production could not satisfy U.S. demand.
While outlawing their import, the TFTEA allows for CBP to hold shipments where forced labor production is suspected. It also allows for coordination with ICE and the private sector in investigating forced labor allegations. There are also data processing and other technology tools made by leading companies such as SAP, IBM, Dun & Bradstreet, and Thomson Reuters that improve commercial targeting and enforcement capabilities.
By including this section in the TFTEA, Congress has taken an important step in combating forced labor. CBP should be commended for its early phase efforts in enforcing the new law. With interagency coordination and the participation of legitimate importers in identifying violators, meaningful results should be achieved.
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