U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will shortly begin implementing new requirements pursuant to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) by requiring Chinese postal code information on import entries from China.
This development comes as CBP ramps up UFLPA enforcement by requiring supply chain tracing for a broader class of commodities. The UFLPA specifically singles out cotton, polysilicon, and tomatoes as high-risk commodities for which CBP is directed to request detailed supply chain tracing documentation (see Appendix A of CBP’s June 2022 guidance). However, CBP has recently begun issuing detention notices and requesting similar information on some imports of aluminum from China, and there is reason to expect CBP will shortly expand its scrutiny to other sectors.
Background on UFLPA
The UFLPA, signed into law on December 23, 2021, enforces the United States’ long-standing prohibition on imports made by forced labor with respect to the Xinjiang region of China. Specifically, Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 prohibits the importation of “goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or/and forced labor or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions.” The UFLPA requires CBP to presume that all goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) of China, or by entities on the UFLPA Entity List, are made with forced labor and thus, are prohibited from entry into the United States.
This presumption is rebuttable, however, and, to overcome it, importers must respond to all CBP requests for information about merchandise under CBP review and demonstrate that the good, ware, article, or merchandise was not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor.
CBP will consider various types of evidence, but the UFLPA puts the burden on importers to demonstrate due diligence, effective supply chain tracing, and supply chain management measures.
Chinese Postal Code Requirement
As summarized in CBP’s January 26, 2023, notice, effective March 18, 2023, importers/brokers will be required to provide a Chinese postal code in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) for all import entries from China. Importers/brokers will receive an error message if the postal code provided is not a valid Chinese postal code, and importers/brokers will also receive a warning message if a XUAR (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) postal code is provided. Importers should make sure that they have accurate postal code information for all Chinese suppliers, and that this information is supplied to their customs brokers.
Ways we can help:
- Developing a compliance program to ensure your supply chain is free of the 11 indicators of forced labor that CBP uses to make its UFLPA determinations
- Requesting an exception to the presumption that merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in Xinjiang was produced using forced labor
- Developing and presenting evidence to CBP that imported merchandise was not mined, produced, or manufactured using forced labor
- Protesting an exclusion by CBP of shipments determined to be in violation of the UFLPA