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U.S. bans imports from Malaysia company over signals of forced labor

U.S. bans imports from Malaysia company over signals of forced labor
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that the ban is based on reasonable evidence of forced labor at Smart Glove facilities in Malaysia. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The United States has barred all imports of products made by a Malaysian glove company, officials said because of the company's culture of forced labor in the Southeast Asian nation.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday that it's issued a Withhold Release Order for Smart Glove, a Malaysia-based conglomerate that produces gloves for the medical and food industries and owns a number of subsidiary companies.

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The agency said the ban is based on reasonable evidence of forced labor at Smart Glove facilities.

"In the past two years, CBP has set an international standard for ensuring that goods made with forced labor do not enter the U.S. commerce," CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement.

"Manufacturers, like Smart Glove, who fail to abide by our laws will face consequences as we root out this inhumane practice from the U.S. supply chain."

The agency said it identified several indicators of forced labor established by the International Labor Organization. It didn't specify which indicators were noted, but the ILO lists excessive hours, debt bondage, physical and sexual violence and abusive conditions as some of its 11 signs of forced labor.

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Smart Glove is the fifth Malaysian company over the past 15 months to receive such a CBP ban.

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