Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Region Alert Takes Effect March 18
March 14, 2023
On March 18, 2023, CBP will deploy the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Region Alert Enhancement to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). This enhancement will provide early notification to importers and their representatives of goods that may have been produced in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang or XUAR) and may be excluded from importation into the United States. This enhancement includes electronic data interchange (EDI) impacts.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act was enacted on December 23, 2021, to strengthen the existing prohibition against the importation of goods made wholly or in part with forced labor into the United States and to end the systematic use of forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Among its mandates, the UFLPA charged the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, chaired by DHS, to develop a strategy for supporting the enforcement of Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 1307) to prevent the importation into the United States of goods mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor in the People’s Republic of China.
Changes for trade users
The UFLPA Region Alert will add three new validations to ACE in specific applications:
- Postal code will be a required field.
- Users will receive an error message if the postal code provided is not a valid Chinese postal code.
- Users will receive a warning message when a Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region postal code is provided.
- Cargo Release application (only for the manufacturer party and only when the country is reported as China)
- Manufacturer Identification Code application (when creating or updating a manufacturer identification code with a city located in China).
The enhancement will provide the ability to update an existing MID with a postal code. The regulations and CBP guidance state that the importer can provide the seller/supplier information instead of the manufacturer information as the manufacturer identification field except for textile importers, and the UFLPA Region Alert will not change this existing rule. This means the new postal code requirement will not apply to all shipments from China or of Chinese origin as a practical matter.
UFLPA Zip Code & Entity List
CBP will not release or make public postal codes for China or for the Xinjiang region. Importers have the obligation to conduct due diligence on their supply chain and may refer to CBP's Importer Guidance for more information. However, an Entity list has been published by the CBP to identify the following:
- a list of entities in Xinjiang that mine, produce, or manufacture wholly or in part any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise with forced labor;
- a list of entities working with the government of Xinjiang to recruit, transport, transfer, harbor, or receive forced labor or Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or members of other persecuted groups out of Xinjiang;
- a list of entities that exported products made by entities in lists 1 and 2 from the PRC into the United States; and
- a list of facilities and entities, including the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, that source material from Xinjiang or from persons working with the government of Xinjiang or the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps for purposes of the “poverty alleviation” program or the “pairing-assistance” program or any other government-labor scheme that uses forced labor.
In the event that a user receives a warning message, they should notify the importer(s) of the rebuttable presumption established by the UFLPA. Importers may request an exception to the rebuttable presumption from CBP (a) during a detention (b) after an exclusion, or (c) during the seizure process. The UFLPA Operational Guidance for Importers has been published by the CBP to assist trade users with the process.
Increased Audits, Detentions, Exclusions and Seizures
To enforce the UFLPA, CBP will take specific enforcement actions, including identifying, detaining, and/or excluding, or seizing shipments subject to the UFLPA’s rebuttable presumption, depending upon the specific facts involved in each importation. CBP will review each shipment for UFLPA applicability, and appropriate action to be taken, on a case-by-case basis. CBP will identify shipments through a variety of sources including from the UFLPA Entity List. Any detentions effectuated to enforce the UFLPA will be pursuant to CBP’s authority to inspect, examine, and detain imported merchandise in accordance with 19 U.S.C. § 1499. CBP will provide importers with notice, in accordance with the customs laws, when enforcement actions are taken on their shipments.
Although not all shipments with the UFPLA zip code warning will be automatically detained, shipments coming from the Xinjiang/XUAR region will automatically receive a warning flag as these shipments are presumed to be made with forced labor. When shipments with the UFLPA warning flag arrive into the United States, they will be immediately excluded and the Port Director will issue an exclusion notice to the importer.
When CBP detains goods or merchandise under the UFLPA, CBP will issue a detention notice. The detention notice will also include instructions to the importer for submitting information to CBP to rebut the UFLPA presumption. CBP has five days (excluding weekends and holidays) following the date on which merchandise is presented for examination to CBP to decide whether to release or detain the merchandise.
Importers who receive a detention notice regarding their shipments may respond to the detention notice within the applicable timeframe, generally within 30 days from the date the merchandise is presented for examination to CBP, to request an exception to the UFLPA rebuttable presumption.
CBP will evaluate the information provided by the importer to determine admissibility during and after the five-day period. During this five-day period, importers may present an Immediate Export in-bond to seek permission from the port director to export detained shipments at any point prior to exclusion or seizures.
CBP may exclude shipments determined to be in violation of the UFLPA. Importers may protest exclusions and must select “Merchandise Excluded From Entry” as the relevant Issue when creating the protest within the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) to ensure proper processing. Protests should be routed electronically to the appropriate Center of Excellence and Expertise (Center).
Importations determined to be in violation of the UFLPA may be subject to seizure and forfeiture. When a decision has been made by CBP to seize a shipment in violation of the UFLPA, the case will be referred to the Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures (FPFO) officer at the port of entry. The FPFO will send the importer and all other interested parties a Notice of Seizure letter outlining the petition rights for interested parties. FPFO notices will advise the importer how to provide information to CBP for review, as well as the deadline for submitting a petition. Petitions and supplemental petitions will be reviewed by the FPFO or Regulations and Rulings following existing processes and delegations of authority and collaboration with internal stakeholders.
Exceptions to the Rebuttable Presumption
If the CBP Commissioner determines that an exception to the rebuttable presumption is warranted for a particular importation, CBP will notify the appropriate Congressional committees and, not later than 30 days after the Commissioner determines an exception is warranted, make available to the public a report identifying the good and the evidence considered in granting the exception.
In most cases, the Commissioner shall apply the presumption unless the Commissioner determines:
- That the importer of record has
- Fully complied with the guidance described in the UFLPA Strategy and that any regulations issued to implement that guidance.
- Completely and substantively responded to all inquiries for information submitted by the Commissioner to ascertain whether the goods were mined, produced or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor; and
- by clear and convincing evidence that the good, ware, article or merchandise was not mined, produced or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor.
When reviewing requests for exceptions, CBP will attempt to prioritize the requests of Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) Trade Compliance members in good standing.
For more information, contact Eastern's in-house customs brokerage subsidiary, Eastern CHB, LLC at email@example.com.
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