US Customs assign forced labor at Malaysia’s Top Glove to seize Reuters gloves

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A worker leaves a Top Glove factory after his shift in Klang

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – U.S. Customs have found forced labor practices in the manufacture of disposable gloves by Top Glove Corp Bhd and ordered its ports to seize goods from the manufacturer, it said on Monday.

In an overnight statement, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it had sufficient information to determine the abuse of labor at the world’s largest manufacturer of medical gloves.

CBP issued an order in July last year banning the imports of two Top Glove subsidiaries on suspicion of labor abuse.

The ban now extends “to all single-use gloves originating in top glove factories in Malaysia,” it told Reuters.

Top Glove stocks fell nearly 5% early this morning.

Top Glove told Reuters that its US attorneys are working with representatives from the CBP to get more clarity and information on the matter.

According to CBP, the finding does not affect the vast majority of single-use gloves imported into the US, which are vital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“CBP has taken steps to ensure that this targeted enforcement move against Top Glove does not have a material impact on total US imports of single-use gloves,” said John Leonard, CBP’s deputy assistant commissioner for trade, in the statement.

Top Glove has stated over the past few months that it has taken extensive corrective action to improve its work practices.

The ethical trading consultancy Impactt, which Top Glove hired to evaluate its trading and labor practices, reported earlier this month that it had found “no” indicators of systemic forced labor at the manufacturer in January.

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