Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA): Due diligence challenges and solutions

Oct 2, 2023

Understanding the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act or UFLPA

Since June 2022, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (Public Law No. 117-78) also referred to as the UFLPA is a groundbreaking legislation that enforces the ban on importing goods into the United States that are made, either wholly or partially, using forced labor from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China.  

UFLPA has been instrumental in detaining $1.7 billion worth of merchandise by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This has ranged from electronics to apparel to tomatoes, underlining the widespread implications for brands across various sectors.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is an attempt to prevent forced labor in Xinjiang, a region in China where the Uyghur minority group resides. It requires brands to provide proof that their supply chain does not include forced labor within 30 days of import. However, meeting this requirement has proven challenging for companies - only 4 out of 10 shipments have been released after companies were able to prove that their products didn't originate from Xinjiang.  

U.S. Customs is going above and beyond the verification stage. They have also published and now aim to update a blacklist of companies regularly. This blacklist prohibits any goods produced by those companies. As of September 27th, 2023, the UFLPA Entity List has been updated with three new companies. Today there are 38 companies blacklisted.

The Challenge for Fashion and Footwear Brands

The act presents a significant compliance challenge for brands in the fashion and footwear industry. Given the complex nature of global supply chains, proving the absence of forced labor within a 30-day window is no easy task. Brands must not only collect all social audit documents along the supply chain, from the farm to the garment, but also map the supply chain at the order and style level. Furthermore, they must record actions taken to mitigate risks and report the supply chain's social compliance to U.S. customs in a timely manner.  

Introducing Trimco's Solution: ProductDNA®

Recognizing these challenges, Trimco Group’s proprietary supply chain monitoring platform, ProductDNA® simplifies the process of complying with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act by identifying geographically each tier involved in the supply chain and facilitating the collection of social audit documents and the relevant performance indicators across the supply chain.

ProductDNA® also enables brands to map their supply chain at the order and style level, providing a clear and detailed view of their sourcing practices.  

Perhaps most significantly, ProductDNA® allows brands to report their supply chain's social compliance to U.S. customs at order and style level with just a click. Also, the platform can record actions taken to mitigate risks, ensuring that brands can demonstrate their commitment to eradicating forced labor. This feature greatly reduces the time and effort required to meet the act's due diligence and reporting requirements, increasing the likelihood of shipments being released.

What to do now?

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act has presented an unprecedented challenge for brands in the fashion and footwear industry. However, with Trimco GRoup's ProductDNA®, companies can navigate these new compliance requirements more easily and effectively. By leveraging the power of technology, brands can mitigate risks of forced labor within their supply chains, protecting their business interests and the workers' rights in textiles manufacturing countries. Want to know more about how ProductDNA® can help your brand comply with the UFLPA? Get in touch.  

Sources: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, United States Trade Representative.

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