Canada halts Malaysian glove maker Supermax imports amid forced labour concerns


Canada has halted imports from Malaysian glove-maker Supermax weeks after a similar move from the US amid allegations of forced-labour practices.

The government in Ottawa barred deliveries from the company until an audit report on the matter is reviewed by authorities.

Malaysian factories making everything from medical gloves to palm oil have increasingly come under scrutiny over allegations they abuse foreign workers, who form a significant part of the manufacturing workforce.

After the United States suspended Supermax imports last month, Canada’s Public Services and Procurement department said on Wednesday (Nov. 10) it was holding Supermax deliveries as it awaits a report expected mid-month from Supermax Healthcare Canada.

“In light of the current situation, Canada has engaged with the company to seek assurances that Supermax Corp is not engaging in forced labour practices,” the department said in a statement.

Supermax did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US Customs and Border Protection issued a “Withhold Release Order” on Oct. 21 that prohibits imports from Supermax based on reasonable information that indicates the use of forced labour in its manufacturing operations.

Supermax has said it was in contact with the US agency to obtain more clarity and that it had commissioned an independent consulting firm to conduct an audit into the status of foreign workers at its factories.

Canada said it will determine its next steps after reviewing the report from Supermax’s Canadian unit.

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that it does not do business with companies that employ unethical practices, either directly or within their supply chains,” it added. (Source: CNA)