US-China Trade Monthly (Feb. 2022)

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The comment period allows interested stakeholders to submit recommendations on how to best implement regulations that will enforce the UFPLA.
Worldwide International Law
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Editor's Note

As global economic and geopolitical environments enter a new era, companies need to continuously develop and adjust their coherent global business strategies to secure and further expand business opportunities in all markets while minimizing political and legal risks by ensuring compliance. To assist you with that task, Mayer Brown's US-China Trade Monthly provides news and insights related to the latest US developments impacting the US-China bilateral trade relationship. In this inaugural issue, we will discuss: (1) recent US legislation that will generally prohibit any goods with a tie to Xinjiang from being imported into the United States in the near future; (2) the status of US Congress' ongoing efforts to pass a comprehensive China bill; and (3) a proposed revocation of the de minimis threshold in US customs rules with respect to Chinese imports. With the fluidity of current and pending US and other countries' sanctions related to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, we will hold off covering any impacts around US-China trade until we have a clearer picture of the full extent of the global sanctions.

Comment Period

Opens on Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act On January 24, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, on behalf of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), opened the comment period for the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). The comment period allows interested stakeholders to submit recommendations on how to best implement regulations that will enforce the UFPLA. The comment period will close March 10.

BACKGROUND

The UFLPA, signed into law on December 23, 2021, creates a rebuttable presumption that goods "mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part" in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are made with forced labor and are prohibited from entering the United States. The legislation directed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to create guidance on what comprises the "clear and convincing evidence" due diligence standard necessary to rebut this presumption. Though it is unclear how CBP will implement this standard, its previous Withhold-Release Orders (WROs) on goods from XUAR provide a preview of what CBP is likely to consider important in these standards.

The UFLPA also directs CBP to create a strategy to prevent the importation of Chinese goods produced using forced labor from other areas of China. This strategy will include the guidance on compliance with the "clear and convincing evidence" standard and any further rulemaking that CBP and the FLETF deem necessary to implement the strategy. The UFLPA requires CBP to include cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon on the list of enforcement sectors as part of this strategy.

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This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.

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