KATHMANDU, JULY 26
The US Customs and Border Protection has modified a withhold release order on imports of carpets and hand-knotted products from a Nepali company.
Effective July 23, carpets and hand-knotted wool products produced by the Annapurna Carpet Industries Pvt Ltd ('Annapurna Carpet') are admissible at all US ports of entry.
"CBP's thorough review of Annapurna Carpet's business practices indicates that the firm has remediated concerns about use of forced labour in its production process and its products may be imported into the United States," AnnMarie Highsmith, CBP executive assistant commissioner for trade, said in a statement. "CBP remains committed to eliminating forced labour from US supply chains to protect vulnerable workers and ensure a level playing field for law-abiding businesses."
CBP issued a withhold release order in July 1998 to prevent the importation of carpets and hand-knotted wool products from seven Nepali companies, including Annapurna Carpet.
The withhold release order was based on information reasonably indicating that those products were made with the use of forced labour.
CBP modified the withhold release order after evaluating detailed information that Annapurna Carpet has addressed all 11 indicators of forced labour in the production of its carpets and hand-knotted wool products, which sufficiently shows that the company's products are not made with the use of forced labour.
This is the second time CBP has modified the withhold release order on carpets and hand-knotted wool products from Nepal. The agency first modified the order in October 1998 to allow imports of carpets and hand-knotted wool products from three companies: Norsang Carpet Industries Pvt Ltd, Everest Carpet, and KK Carpet Industries. The three entities fully addressed CBP's concerns about the use of forced labour in their production processes.
The 1998 withhold release order remains in effect for carpets and hand-knotted wool products made by Kumar Carpet Pvt, Singhe Carpet Pvt, and Valley Carpet. CBP will not modify or revoke a withhold release order until the subject entities fully remediate all indicators of forced labour in their production process, the statement adds.
Federal statute 19 USC 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured or produced, wholly or in part, in a foreign country by forced labour, including convict labour and/or indentured labour under penal sanctions.
When information reasonably but not conclusively indicates that merchandise within the purview of this provision is being imported, the commissioner of CBP may issue a withhold release order. Withhold release orders direct CBP personnel at US ports of entry to detain shipments containing goods specified by the order.
Any person or organisation that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labour is being, or likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP.
A version of this article appears in the print on July 27 2021, of The Himalayan Times.