Restrictions on Chinese goods impose new customs regulations
In December 2021 President Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) into law to prohibit the importation of any goods made with forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China.
To further strengthen the prohibition against the importation of goods made with forced labour, US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) will, from the 18th March 2023, require importers or their brokers to report the China Postal Code associated with the company identified by the Manufacturer Identification Code (MID). ( Trade User Information Notice)
The postal code will be a required data element for making entry of China-originating goods and will affect Cargo Release.
Effective March 18th, if the postal code is missing or inaccurate, CBP will send an error message to the Trade User (Entry Filer/Broker) and the cargo will not be released until the error is corrected. If the postal code indicates that the goods may have been produced in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang or XUAR), the entry will be detained and may be excluded from entry into the U.S.
The UFLPA presumes that goods made in the Xinjiang region of China are made with forced labor. When entries are flagged for UFLPA, the importer will have the opportunity to provide documentation to support the lack of forced labor in the production of the goods to obtain the release of the goods. CBP provides guidance for importers for requesting an exception to the UFLPA detention, exclusion, or seizure of the goods. The CBP Importer Guidance can be found here.
It is therefore advisable for companies purchasing from Chinese suppliers to verify that all commercial documents received include a valid Chinese postal code that can be communicated to US customs.
More information on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFPLA) can be found here.
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