The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, Public Law No. 117-78 (“UFLPA”), is a federal law that became effective on June 21, 2022, and is aimed at preventing American entities from supporting or funding forced labor among ethnic minorities in the region of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (or the “Xinjiang region”). Forced labor in that region includes convict labor and indentured and child labor. 

During importation, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (the “CBP”) is authorized to take specific enforcement actions, including identifying, detaining, excluding, and/or seizing any imported goods subject to the UFLPA.  The CBP is also authorized to issue civil penalties against those who facilitate such imports. 

The UFLPA begins with a rebuttable presumption that “any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the” Xinjiang region resulted from forced labor practices.[1]  An importer can rebut the presumption with clear and convincing evidence that the subject merchandise was not made wholly or in part by forced labor.[2] This requires extensive and detailed information concerning the imported products’ supply chain and sources, including where and how the products (including its parts and components) were made.

The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (the “FLETF”) – a collaboration of multiple U.S. agencies tasked with monitoring and setting rules and guidelines to enforce the UFPLA – has identified several industries and sectors where forced labor has been used to manufacture certain products:

  • Apparel, textiles, cotton, and cotton products
  • Silica-based products
  • Tomatoes and downstream products
  • Electronics (including solar components)
  • Aluminum (especially for use in the global automotive industry)

In addition, the FLETF has issued the UFLPA Entity List, which designates and names certain companies, entities, and facilities that utilize forced labor practices in violation of international human rights laws.  These would include businesses and other entities that recruit, transport, transfer, harbor, or receive forced labor out of the Xinjiang region.  The FLETF updates the UFLPA Entity List with additional entities on a continuous basis.[3]

Even where a product or component is not known to have originated from the Xinjiang region, goods sourced from a company on the UFLPA Entity List are presumed to have been produced with forced labor in that region.  The CBP will seize or otherwise detain such goods, and the importing company will likewise need to rebut the presumption of forced labor with clear and convincing evidence.  Companies in such a position would be well advised to respond to all CBP requests for information about the merchandise under CBP review.

The CBP has issued an operational guidance for companies regarding requirements under the UFLPA to rebut the presumption of forced labor during the importation process. The operational guidance can be found on the CBP website.

[1] Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, Pub. L. No. 117-78, § 3(a) (2021).

[2] Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, Pub. L. No. 117-78, § 3(b) (2021).

[3] UFLPA Entity List | Homeland Security (