Docket Number DHS-2022-0001
March 10, 2022
The US-China Business Council (USCBC) welcomes the opportunity to submit comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) on the enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). USCBC represents over 260 American companies that do business with China. Our members oppose forced labor in all its forms and work to eliminate forced labor from global supply chains. We hope to work in partnership with the government to provide practical solutions to implementing the requirements in this law.
Trade with China brings many important benefits to the US economy and American workers. It also acts as a stabilizing force for one of the most consequential bilateral relationships in the world today. China’s economic development has resulted in its deep integration with US company supply chains—from retailers to advanced manufacturers, and from SMEs to large multinationals. American businesses and consumers have benefited from globally integrated supply chains that have improved efficiency and lowered production costs for US firms. This has enabled US businesses to grow and create jobs in the US. It is critically important to address forced labor concerns in supply chains, but to do so while minimizing impacts to commerce that is free of forced labor.
Many US companies have longstanding global policies and practices to ensure that their suppliers do not use forced labor. They conduct labor audits of their worldwide operations and have robust supplier codes of conduct. US importers conduct supply chain due diligence but depending on the industry, a company may not directly own or operate all the manufacturing facilities in their supply chains. Some companies work with hundreds of first tier suppliers to source components, let alone second tier suppliers and beyond.
Upstream raw materials may be comingled and difficult to trace, and companies often do not have contractual relationships with upstream suppliers so they must rely on their relationships with first or second tier suppliers for information, making it difficult to obtain documentation. Tracing recycled content is particularly challenging because it often involves intermingled inputs from multiple sources. Supply chain mapping and due diligence challenges are only amplified for SMEs. While importers are making efforts to improve supply chain transparency, this takes time and cooperation across many stakeholders.