THE US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel in Cleveland has seized a shipment of 3.97 million nitrile disposable gloves valued at US$518,000 (RM2.14 bil) due to information indicating they were made by forced labour, a form of modern slavery.
On March 29, CBP directed personnel at all US ports of entry to begin seizing disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove Corp Bhd.
This follows the issuance of a forced labour finding based on evidence of multiple forced labour indicators in Top Glove’s production process, including debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents.
This latest revelation comes as CBP made it clear last week that social compliance audits by Top Glove’s consultant Impactt are conducted independently of CBP and that “it continues to evaluate information submitted by Top Glove in support of its petition to modify last month’s forced labour finding which saw the seizure of its disposable gloves at all US ports of entry”.
The world’s largest glove maker has recently claimed that it has ‘passed with flying colours’ the litmus test as per the 11 International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) indicators of forced labour (based on Impactt’s evaluation).
Meanwhile, the shipment in Cleveland was seized after an inspection by CBP officers revealed that the gloves were produced in Malaysia by a subsidiary of Top Glove.
“This seizure sends a strong message that CBP will not tolerate imports made by forced labour, which is a form of modern slavery that hurts vulnerable workers and threatens our economy,” CBP’s area port director (Cleveland) pointed out in a media statement.
“CBP continues to facilitate the importation of legitimate PPE (personal protection equipment) needed for the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring that the PPE is authorised and safe for use.”
CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the US and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products.
In a reaction, Top Glove said the company continues to work closely with the CBP towards the expeditious resolution and revocation/modification of its Withhold Release Order (WRO)/Finding.
“The CBP is currently reviewing our submission on the back of the company having remediated the 11
ILO forced labour indicators,” added the glove maker.
At the close of today’s morning session, Top Glove was down 7 sen or 1.28% to RM5.38 with 5.76 million shares traded, thus valuing the company at RM44.15 bil. – May 5, 2021