On 23rd December 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (the Act). The Act seeks to ensure that goods made with forced labours drawn from China’s ethnic minority groups don’t enter the US. Here are ten key details you need to know about the Act:
1. The Act comes into force on June 21, 2022.
2. After that date, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will presume that all goods mined, produced, or manufactured in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have been made using forced labour. Companies will have to demonstrate that the goods were not made by forced labour to clear customs.
3. Existing laws require the CBP to turn back goods suspected of being made by forced labour and issue fines for importing such goods.
4. The CBP will prevent the import of all goods that can be linked to the XUAR, regardless of where the finished product is made. This means goods that contain parts or materials sourced from Xinjiang will be subject to the Act.
5. Goods produced by companies who source from the XUAR may only enter the US if they can prove with ‘clear and convincing’ evidence that forced labour was not used. It is our understanding that companies sourcing anything from the XUAR will have to demonstrate that all the goods they import in to the US were not made, in part or full, by forced labour.
6. The CBP is required to issue compliance guidance for businesses who import into the US. The guidance will include requirements on due diligence, supply chain tracing and supply chain management.
7. It is not only the Uyghurs who will be protected under the Act, which requires the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force to assess whether companies are exploiting "Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tibetans, or members of other persecuted groups." 
8. Likewise, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is not limited to the XUAR. Uyghurs have allegedly been forced into labour in other parts of China and the Act will address this. Indeed, the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force will identify third country supply chain routes that could be used to mask the use of forced labour. The CBP may sanction any entities who attempt to cover up a link to the XUAR.
9. The Act includes a provision to sanction companies and individuals responsible for human rights abuses in the Republic of China.
10. The Act will impact on many companies that do not import in the US as it will likely result in disruption to global supply chains.
We advise all companies to urgently start conducting modern slavery due diligence of their supply chains to determine whether they procure goods or services made by forced labour. RightsDD offers technology, consultancy and training to help companies meet their human rights obligations, contact us for support.