Operational Guidance for Importers on The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Washington Headquarter
CBP’s operational guidance suggests imports from China may be subject to enhanced scrutiny, requiring companies to be on heightened alert for forced labor indicators. However, CTPAT members' requests for exception will be prioritized.

Beginning June 21, 2022, The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) applies a rebuttable presumption that imports tied wholly or partially to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China, or to certain entities, involve forced labor and are prohibited from entering the United States.

On June 13, 2022,  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released its Operational Guidance For Importers, outlining the UFLPA enforcement process and acceptable documentation to overcome this presumption. 


Enforcement Process

CBP will enforce the UFLPA by detaining, excluding, or seizing imports subject to the rebuttable presumption. Upon receiving a notice, the importers have the following options:

  1. If the importer can prove that the imports are outside of the scope of UFLPA, i.e., has no connection to the Xinjiang region or any entity on the UFLPA Entity List, they will no longer be subject to enforcement and will be released.
  2. However, if the imports are within the scope of the UFLPA, the importer needs to request an exception to enter the shipments. In these cases, the importer must demonstrate clear and convincing evidence against forced labor. 
  3. Importers who receive an exclusion notice may file an administrative protest to request an exception.
  4. Importers who receive a seizure notice may utilize the petition process to request an exception in order to mitigate any associated penalties and obtain permission to re-export the goods.
  5. Importers will have the right to present an Immediate Export in-bond to export detained shipments at any point prior to exclusion or seizure.

“CTPAT Members are not only required to address social compliance according to the updated Minimum Security Criteria, but are best positioned to effectively identify threats such as forced labor in their supply chains due to their constant due diligence.”

Shawn Beddows


The types of supporting documentation CBP will require if an importer requests an exception include:

  1. Due Diligence Documentation such as supply chain mapping, forced labor training, and a written supplier code of conduct.
  2. Supply chain tracing information showing a detailed description of the overall supply chain from the raw materials to the imported goods.
  3. Supply chain management measures which demonstrate an importer has internal controls in place to mitigate forced labor risks.
  4. Evidence the goods were not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in Xinjiang, if applicable.
  5. Evidence the goods originating in China were not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor.

Mandatory requriements for those in CTPAT Trade Compliance members beginning August 1st, 2022

As of August 1st, 2022, the criteria for forced labor has changed from “should” to “must”.  New applicants must meet these requirements. Existing partners have one year to implement these requirements:

Where We Stand

When reviewing requests for UFLPA exception, CBP will prioritize the requests of Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) members in good standing. At CT Strategies, we leverage our distinguished team of former CTPAT directors and supply chain security specialists to help companies get the most out of a CTPAT membership and avoid disruptions.

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