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Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act - UFLPA

Forced labor is a sad reality taking place all around the world. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) focuses on protecting the Xinjiang minority groups. Protecting those subjected to forced labor requires drastic measures. Consequently, the Act prohibits the importation of products coming from the area.

Uyghur Forced Labor

Widespread Forced Labor

A forced labor situation occurs when people must work against their will. It usually comes along with fraud, force, and coercion. In 2016, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated the number of forced labor workers worldwide at 24.9 million. Victims of forced labor come from various backgrounds. However, human trafficking and abuses affect women and children the most.  

What Is the Uyghur Forced Labor?

Xinjiang is the North-West region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) oppresses over a million Muslim Uyghurs, with other minorities like Christians. These minorities can be detained in camps and forced to work in factories. Additionally, many receive little payment for their work, are not allowed to leave the workplace, and are forbidden to communicate with their families.

Recognition of Chinese Forced Labor

Several countries recognize and condemn China for forced labor and massive repression. Examples are the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. Moreover, sanctions are in place to prevent forced labor and improve social responsibility.

Biden’s Act Against Uyghur Forced Labor

Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

On December 23, 2021, President Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). This action stems from Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930. Here are a few examples of the main provisions:

  • United States (US) businesses must not import Xinjiang-produced goods, including raw materials, ore, and manufactured items;
  • Federal authorities are in charge of listing the organizations and industries connected to forced labor.

The guidance is here to help importers upgrade their supply chain transparency. Such guidelines aim at demonstrating due diligence in slavery-free practices.

What is Section 307 of the Tariff Act?

A tariff is a tax imposed by a government on the importation or exportation of goods. It is a way for the government to regulate foreign trade. 

Tariff Act of 1930

When enacted, the US Tariff Act of 1930 aimed to protect American farmers and others from foreign social dumping by implementing import taxes. As a result, the Act increased import duties by 20% in the 1930s. The Tariff Act of 1930 remains in effect.

Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930

This section addresses the forced labor challenges in supply chains. Indeed, it prohibits the import of any product issued from any source of forced labor work, including child labor. Sources of enforced labor include: 

  • Mines;
  • Manufactures, like subcontractors;
  • Articles, such as electronics.
Section 307 of the Tariff Act

As a side note, other anti-trafficking measures apply, such as the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005.

Enforcement of the Tariff Act

Enforcement of the Tariff Act

Enforcement tools for the implementation of Section 307 are available. Here are some:

  • Anyone with reasons to believe that a product comes from forced labor must bring it up to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
  • CBP can issue Withhold Release Orders (WROs) which enables them to detain questionable shipments.


Interestingly, the number of WROs has been rising since the 1990s. It coincides with the expansion of Chinese exports to the US.

Limitations of Section 307 of the Tariff Act

Sadly, there are significant limits to the enforcement of the law: 

  • Insufficiency of conclusive information on product origins;
  • Absence of data about forced labor in production processes;
  • Lack of communication and transparency throughout the supply chain.

Tools to Raise Awareness Against Forced Labor

To facilitate corporate transparency and better  communication, different organizations have been developing the following resources:

First, the US Department of Labor – International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) maintains:

  • A register called Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor; and
  • A List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor where problematic products are published.

Second, the United Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights (UNGPs) is another practical tool. Indeed, it regroups numerous guidelines raising awareness of human rights abuses in the supply chain.

Chinese Workforce

Finally, an Enviropass article offers Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence solutions.  

In conclusion, forced labor is a harsh reality that touches various countries worldwide through repression. Consequently, Section 307 of the Tariff Act and several other regulations and guidelines strive to prevent victims and support corporations. Bringing awareness of such reality allows for better due diligence.

We are here to help you achieve supply chain transparency. Contact Enviropass for any questions!