On December 31, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) for seafood harvested on a Taiwanese fishing vessel named the Lien Yi Hsing No. 12. The order follows a separate decision in August of last year against the Da Wang, another Taiwanese fishing vessel suspected of similar violations. The December 31 WRO was the 13th and final for Fiscal Year 2020.

The Agency’s Press Release included 3 out of the 11 possible forced labor indicators:

  • Deception
  • Withholding of wages
  • Debt bondage

Additional forced labor indicators include: Abuse of vulnerability, restriction of movement, isolation, physical and sexual violence, intimidation and threats, retention of identity documents, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime.

WROs are issued by the U.S. government when information reasonably but not conclusively indicates goods were made in whole or in part using Forced Labor. Merchandise detained under a WRO order must be exported immediately or a substantial submission made that provides specific information showing that the goods were not made with forced labor. To obtain a release of any shipment that has been subjected to a WRO, a certificate of origin along with this detailed statement regarding the merchandise’s production and supply chain origin must be submitted to CBP. CBP makes a determination on a case-by-case basis.

For more information, please contact: Jeffrey Snyder, Frances Hadfield, or Clayton Kaier