On January 13, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a region-wide Withhold Release Order (“WRO”) against cotton products and tomato products originating from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“Xinjiang”) in China. The WRO also applies to all products made in whole or in part from Xinjiang cotton and tomatoes, regardless of where those downstream products are produced. According to CBP, these products include “apparel, textiles, tomato seeds, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and other goods made with cotton and tomatoes.” As a result of CBP’s action, all shipments seeking entry to the U.S. which are subject to the WRO will be detained, and importers can either choose to reexport the shipment or to file a protest demonstrating that the shipment is not subject to the WRO.
The Xinjiang regional WRO against cotton products and tomato products is the seventh WRO issued by CBP related to forced labor in Xinjiang. Last month, CBP issued a WRO against cotton products and tomato products originating from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (“XPCC”), which followed the issuance of five other WROs related to forced labor in Xinjiang against cotton, computer parts, hair products, apparel, and also against labor originating from a specific Xinjiang internment camp.