On June 24, 2021, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) pursuant to 19 USC 1307 against Xinjiang, China-based Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. Ltd. and its subsidiaries (Hoshine). The WRO instructs CPB personnel to detain shipments of silica-based products produced by Hoshine and its subsidiaries, including “materials and goods (such as polysilicon) derived from or produced using those silica-based products.”

On the same day, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan) Co., Ltd  and four other Xinjiang-based companies to the Entity List based on allegations of their participation “in the practice of, accepting, or utilizing forced labor” in their production processes.

On June 23, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a Federal Register notice updating its List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor  (TVPRA List) to include polysilicon from China.

Meanwhile, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) advanced a bill that, if passed, would impose additional restrictions on the importation of goods from China’s Xinjiang Province.


Continue Reading Biden Administration Targets Xinjiang-based Solar Companies over Labor Allegations

On March 11, 2021, the Home Office launched an online registry for organisations required to publish annual modern slavery statements under Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“MSA”).  The launch of the registry makes good on one of a series of commitments made by the UK government in October 2020 to strengthen the transparency in supply chains provision of the MSA, which we discussed in greater detail in a previous blog post (here).

Commercial organisations that carry on all or part of a business in the United Kingdom and have a total annual turnover of £36 million or more currently are required to publish a modern slavery statement reporting on the steps that they have taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in their business or supply chains.

The UK government’s 2020 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery reported that 17 percent of covered organisations had not published a modern slavery statement and were unlikely to be covered by a group modern slavery statement.  One goal of the new registry is to enable the UK government to more effectively monitor compliance with the reporting obligations imposed by the MSA.


Continue Reading UK Government Acts on Commitment to Tackle Modern Slavery in Supply Chains with Centralised Modern Slavery Statement Registry

Following recent US regulations aimed at addressing forced labour issues in China, the UK government has published a series of proposed amendments to strengthen and expand the transparency in supply chains provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“MSA”).  With the enactment of the MSA, the United Kingdom was the first country to require large businesses to publicly report the steps they were taking to prevent modern slavery in their operations – specifically, their supply chains.

The current transparency in supply chains provisions of the MSA require commercial organisations that carry on all or part of a business in the United Kingdom and have a total annual turnover of £36 million or more to report on the steps that they have taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in their business or supply chains.

The proposed amendments, if adopted, would beef up that reporting requirement by requiring subject commercial organisations’ modern slavery statements to include provisions on certain key topics, including due diligence and risk assessment measures to encourage openness about the steps those commercial organisations are taking to operate responsibly.


Continue Reading UK Government Moves to Strengthen and Expand Measures for Tackling Modern Slavery in Supply Chains