The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) took effect June 21, 2022. The Act established a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China is prohibited entry into the U.S. as the product of forced labor.
In light of the UFLPA’s requirements, as well as other forced labor prohibitions in U.S. law, Customs has been working to add additional required data fields for imported merchandise. According to CBP’s Notional Development & Deployment Schedule, 3 new validations will be conducted when entries specify China as the country of origin or manufacturer ID. These validations are designed to allow Customs to more quickly focus on potentially problematic entries.
One required data point will be the postal code for the Chinese address on either the cargo release or reported manufacturer ID (MID). Customs intends that ACE users would receive an error message if the postal code provided is not a valid Chinese postal code, or a warning message when a Uyghur region postal code has been provided. Deployment for the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act “region alert” was previously scheduled for December 15 but has since been delayed indefinitely for CBP to set up a working group through the Trade Support Network to talk through issues related to the deployment. This delay arose after customs brokers and software developers expressed concerns about the new requirement during a regularly scheduled meeting with industry participants.
The concerns expressed ranged from the burden of validating postal codes to the complexity of cargo imported into the U.S. through a third country where that shipper’s information is commonly (and appropriately) used as the MID. Postal codes would not be required for existing manufacturer IDs as the trade community has made clear that populating and validating such information for thousands of MIDs per broker would be huge undertaking. Updated CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements (CATAIRs) and an Information Notice are expected in early November.
Although the newly required data elements are delayed indefinitely, and the requirement seemed to have lacked a formal notice, importers should be aware and prepared to provide such information once CBP proceeds with the implementation. Better to start collecting the data now than to scramble once the requirement becomes effective.
If you have questions regarding the UFLPA or required data elements, do not hesitate to contact any attorney at Barnes, Richardson & Colburn, LLP.