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United States: complaint filed against Apple for importing products made with forced labor
Planet Labor, 29 September 2021, n°12706 - www.planetlabor.com

On 27 September the Campaign for Accountability (CfA) research arm, the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) announced it had filed a complaint against Apple for importing products made in factories that make use of forced Uighur labor. Filed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the complaint is based on a 1930 law, the Tariff Act, which prohibits ‘the importation of merchandise mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured labor, and the fact that ‘such merchandise is subject to exclusion and/or seizure, and may lead to criminal investigation of the importer(s).’ The researcher-driven association’s work is benefitting from favourable tailwinds. Since a shift in U.S government tone (c.f. article No. 12328), several dozen seizure orders have already been issued by the Customs Service targeting products imported from Chinese factories accused of using forced labor. This most recent complaint specifically targets commercial business relationships being maintained by the tech giant and involving no less than seven suppliers that either the US government or the NGO’s investigations have linked to forced labor. While Apple acknowledges the reality of its links with Chinese companies, the company denies the use of forced labor, which is the mark, according to the TTP of its inability or unwillingness to conduct basic due diligence research on its partners.