US Bans Chinese Fishing Fleet Imports Due to Labor Practices | Human rights news
Officials say this is the first US ban on imports of an entire fishing fleet, as opposed to individual vessels.
U.S. Customs and border protection on Friday imposed a new seafood import ban from a Chinese fishing fleet which the agency said uses forced labor on its 32 vessels, including abuses against de many Indonesian workers.
CBP said it would immediately hold tuna, swordfish and other products from Dalian Ocean Fishing Co Ltd at U.S. ports of entry. The “denial of release order” prohibiting imports also applies to the company’s other end-consumer products containing seafood, such as canned tuna and pet food, one said. responsible for CBP.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the action marked the first time CBP has banned imports from an entire fishing fleet, as opposed to individual vessels targeted in the past.
“DHS will continue to aggressively investigate the use of forced labor by offshore fishing vessels and a wide range of other industries,” Mayorkas said at a press briefing. “US producers and importers need to understand that there will be consequences for entities that attempt to exploit workers to sell goods in the United States.”
CBP officials said the agency’s investigation found that many Indonesian workers hired by Dalian Ocean’s fishing vessels found conditions very different from what they expected and were subjected to harsh treatment. physical violence, wage deductions, debt bondage and abusive working and living conditions.
In a statement, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States would encourage the accountability of those who use forced labor “to exploit individuals for profit” and to ensure that ” voiceless are heard and protected ”.
“Today’s action helps prevent perpetrators of human rights violations from profiting from forced labor,” the statement said. “This is also another example of the United States taking action to address harmful fishing practices.”
.@CBP announced restrictions on seafood from the PRC-based Dalian Ocean Fishing Company due to evidence of its involvement in forced labor. The international community must fight against forced labor wherever it occurs, including in the fishing sector. https://t.co/Fnj8qlgvKm https://t.co/qNrI6zo2UD
– Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) May 28, 2021
Earlier this week, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai called attention to the issue of forced labor on fishing vessels, submitting a new proposal to the World Trade Organization to reduce subsidies for illegal fishing and demanding that member countries recognize the problem.
U.S. imports from Dalian Ocean Fishing are low, standing at just $ 233,000 for fiscal year 2020, CBP said.
But the issue of forced labor is a growing tipping point in strained relations between the United States and China, following numerous recent import bans linked to China’s detention of Uyghur Muslims in far western Xinjiang. The move comes less than two days after Tai had a first conversation with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
The Trump administration, during its last week in office in January, announced a sweeping import ban on all cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang amid allegations that they are produced with forced Uyghur labor. – a far-reaching measure that would force the clothing and textile industries to reorganize their supply chains.