Obama bans U.S. imports of slave-produced goods

Federal officials are preparing to enforce an 86-year-old ban on importing goods made by children or slaves under new provisions of a law signed by President Barack Obama.

See Full Article

"This law slams shut an unconscionable and archaic loophole that forced America to accept products made by children or slave labour," said Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon democrat who worked on the legislation.

The Tariff Act of 1930, which gave Customs and Border Protection the authority to seize shipments where forced labour was suspected and block further imports, was last used in 2000, and has been used only 39 times all together largely because of two words: "consumptive demand" -- if there was not sufficient supply to meet domestic demand, imports were allowed regardless of how they were produced.

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act signed by Obama on Wednesday eliminated that language, allowing stiffer enforcement. US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske and agency leaders are planning a briefing Friday to explain how they'll be implementing the new law.

"If the U.S. government works to really keep out goods made with forced labour, this change will have a profound ripple effect on supply chains worldwide," said David Abramowitz, who advocated for the change as vice-president for Humanity United.

To start an investigation, Customs needs to receive a petition from anyone -- a business, an agency, even a non-citizen -- showing "reasonably but not conclusively" that imports were made at least in part with forced labour.

A Labor Department list of more than 350 goods produced by child labour or forced labour provides a detailed breakdown that human rights groups plan to use as they petition the government to take action. These include peanuts from Turkey, gold from Ghana, carpets from India and fish and shrimp from Thailand.

An expose by The Associated Press last year found Thai companies ship seafood to the U.S. that was caught and processed by trapped and enslaved workers. As a result of the reports, more than 2,000 trapped fishermen have been rescued, more than a dozen alleged traffickers arrested and millions of dollars' worth of seafood and vessels seized.

Last April AP also identified and highlighted the legal loophole that allowed continued imports of slave-caught seafood; a month later Obama promised to repeal the consumptive demand exception and ensured "swift, strong and effective enforcement."

Subsequent reporting by AP, the New York Times and other media has continued to highlight both the inhumane working conditions in the Thai seafood sector, and the legal loophole that allowed continued imports.

Gavin Gibbons, a spokesman for National Fisheries Institute, which represents about 75 per cent of the U.S. seafood industry, said Thursday their members want to see the ban enforced.

"We support the closing of this anachronistic loophole and look forward to fair and judicious implementation," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Volkswagen ordered to pay $2.1B in class-action suit over emissions scandal

    Economic CBC News
    Members of a Canadian class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen can submit claims for reimbursement starting on Friday after an Ontario court approved a $2.1-billion settlement plan. The 105,000 people who purchased or leased certain Volkswagen or Audi vehicles with two-litre diesel engines that were caught up in an emissions cheating scandal will each receive a payment between $5,100 and $8,000, wrote Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba in his judgment Wednesday. Source
  • Bombardier rejects Boeing claim CSeries was dumped into the U.S. at below cost

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Bombardier and the federal government have rejected Boeing's claim in a complaint filed with the U.S. government that its Canadian rival has dumped its new CSeries commercial jet into the United States at below cost. Source
  • Boeing seeks U.S. anti-dumping probe against Bombardier CSeries jet

    Economic CBC News
    Boeing Co. said on Thursday it had asked the U.S. Commerce Department for an investigation into alleged subsidies and unfair pricing for Canadian planemaker Bombardier's CSeries airplane. The request for anti-dumping measures was also addressed to the U.S. Source
  • Shaw Communications reports outage of internet, TV and phone services

    Economic CBC News
    Shaw Communications Inc. says customers were hit by an outage to its internet, television and home phone services on Thursday. Company support services said in a 1:20 p.m. PT posting on a website that technicians were working on the problem. Source
  • Shaw internet, TV and phone service outage fixed

    Economic CBC News
    Shaw Communications Inc. says customers were hit by an outage to its internet, television and home phone services on Thursday. Company support services said in a 1:20 p.m. PT posting on a website that technicians were working on the problem. Source
  • Canam stock nearly doubles on going-private offer for Quebec-based company

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Canam Group is preparing to end its 33-year run as a public company after partnering with a U.S. company and Quebec investors to take the structural steel specialist private. After a few years of reflection, the leadership of the company founded in 1960 concluded that the constraints of being public not longer fit with its vision. Source
  • United Airlines reaches undisclosed settlement with passenger dragged from plane

    Economic CBC News
    A Kentucky doctor who was dragged off a United Airlines flight after he refused to give up his seat to crew members has reached a settlement with the airline for an undisclosed amount. David Dao's legal team announced the settlement Thursday in a brief statement. Source
  • Employers can pay women less based on past salaries, U.S. court rules

    Economic CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court says employers can legally pay women less than men for the same work based on differences in the employees' previous salaries. The decision by the 9th U.S. Source
  • BlackBerry smartphone with physical keyboard will be sold in Canada next month

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Canadians will be able to buy a new BlackBerry-branded smartphone with a physical keyboard starting next month. The KEYone, a phone made in partnership between TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. (TCT) and BlackBerry (TSX:BB), will be available for pre-order at some partners as of May 18. Source
  • Southwest Airlines to end practice of overbooking flights

    Economic CBC News
    Southwest Airlines says it plans to stop overbooking flights — an industry practice implicated in an ugly incident on a United Airlines flight that has damaged United's reputation with the flying public. Last year Southwest bumped 15,000 passengers off flights, more than any other U.S. Source