U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has modified its existing Withhold Release Order on imports of tobacco from Malawai, effective May 21, 2021.
With the new withhold release order, certain tobacco imports from Premium Tobacco Malawi Limited (PTML) will now be allowed at all U.S. ports of entry. The modification only applies to tobacco harvested by Club Growers in Malawi. Previously, the CBP had banned these imports of tobacco from Malawi into the U.S. based on what it refers to as “reasonable suspicion that they were produced using forced labor.”
The CBP issue its Withhold Release Order in November 2019 on Malawi tobacco imports due to information that it had received that indicated Malawi’s tobacco was being produced using forced labor and forced child labor. While the Club Growers in Malawi are no longer subject to this Withhold Release Order, other Malawi companies that have not demonstrated to the CBP that their supply chains are free of forced labor are still prohibited from exporting their tobacco to the U.S.
“CBP’s forced labor enforcement efforts continue to effect positive change for workers around the globe,” commented John Leonard, acting executive assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “Eliminating forced labor from our supply chains prevents the abuse of vulnerable workers, safeguards the competitiveness of law-abiding businesses, and protects consumers from unethically made products.”