After the United States government placed an import ban from leading medical glove maker Top Glove Corporation, the firm has submitted information to prove it is not using forced labour on its factories.
The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) placed a detention order on imports from two subsidiaries of the Malaysian company two weeks ago, on suspicion that the firm is operating with forced labour.
In an email to Reuters, the CBP said, “Top Glove submitted an initial petition to CBP. CBP responded by identifying additional information needs. Dialogue between CBP and Top Glove is on-going”.
It said it could not specify a timeline for resolving the concerns and will not modify or revoke a “Withhold Release Order” until it receives proof that establishes the admissibility of the affected merchandise.
Banned importers have three months to submit proof, including a detailed statement demonstrating that the detained goods were not produced with forced labour, the CBP says.
Top Glove said in a bourse statement on Thursday that it has been “in cordial and constructive engagement” with the CBP since July 17.
“We have made good progress and look forward to arriving at an agreement on remediation within the month of August 2020, upon which we plan to commence remediation payments immediately,” it said, referring to the remediation of workers’ recruitment fees.
“Extensive reporting by non-governmental organisations and the media has documented the existence of forced labour in the rubber glove industry in Malaysia,” CBP said, adding that it continues to receive and investigate allegations of forced labour in industries connected to U.S. supply chains.
The bar on Top Glove’s units did not dampen investor appetite in the company, whose share price rose to historical highs in the week after the Customs’ detention. Top Glove’s shares have climbed 450% this year, driven by demand associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Share prices of other major glove producers, including Hartalega Holdings, Kossan Rubber Industries and Supermax Corporation have soared by 270%, 320% and 1,231% respectively year to date. (Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation)