U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued a “Notice of Finding” in which it has determined that certain palm oil and derivative products made wholly or in part with palm oil produced by Sime Darby Plantation Berhad, its subsidiaries, and joint ventures with the use of convict, forced or indentured labor, are being, or are likely to be, imported into the United States. This finding will become effective on January 28, 2022, at which time any such merchandise imported into the United States may be seized by port directors and forfeiture proceedings commenced.
This finding comes after CBP on December 16, 2020, issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on “palm oil,” including all crude palm oil and palm kernel oil and derivative products, made wholly or in part with palm oil traceable to Sime Darby Plantation Berhad. At that time, CBP established that reasonable evidence demonstrated that this entity harvested the fruit and produced the palm oil using forced labor.
Through its full investigation, CBP determined that there is sufficient information to support a finding “that Sime Darby Plantation and its subsidiaries are using forced labor … to harvest fresh fruit bunches, which are used to extract palm oil and produce derivative products, and that such palm oil and derivative products produced by the company are likely being imported into the United States.”
This finding covers palm oil and derivative products made wholly or in part with palm oil classified under the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings: 12.07.10.0000, 1511.10.0000, 1511.90.0000, 1513.21.0000, 1513.29.0000, 1517, 3401.11, 3401.20.0000, 3401.19.0000, 3823.12.0000, 3823.19.2000, 3823.70.6000, 3823.70.4000, 3824.99.41 and any other relevant subheadings under Chapters 12, 15, 23, 29 and 38, which are produced or manufactured wholly or in part by Sime Darby Plantation, its subsidiaries and joint ventures. Based upon this CBP determination, port directors may seize the covered merchandise and commence forfeiture proceedings, unless the importer establishes “by satisfactory evidence that
the merchandise was not produced in any part with the use of prohibited labor” specified in this finding.