Readout of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas’ Meeting with the National Council of Textile Organizations
Earlier today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas met virtually with members of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO). The Council’s members are large and small companies alike that employ thousands of American workers and create jobs for people throughout the United States and the region.
NCTO members shared with Secretary Mayorkas the tremendous harm and distress that the textile industry is suffering at the hands of unscrupulous individuals and entities who create an unfair market by circumventing the operation of our nation’s free trade agreements, violating the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), and exploiting the de minimis shipment exception that is established in law.
In response, and given the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to protect our country against customs violations in their many forms, Secretary Mayorkas is enlisting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and other agencies and offices in DHS to increase and expedite their work in prosecuting illegal customs practices that harm the American textile industry.
CBP has already begun to increase enforcement in this arena, including using traditional methods such as physical inspection by CBP officers, testing and analysis by CBP laboratories, textile production verification visits, and audits. It is also increasing its capability and capacity for isotopic testing of imported goods suspected of forced labor violations. HSI’s labor exploitation investigations target employers involved in criminal activity and worker exploitation to reduce illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the country’s lawful workforce. And, as chair of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, DHS continues to work in collaboration with other agencies and the private sector to expand the UFLPA Entity List to publicly name and hold accountable bad actors that use or facilitate forced labor.
Secretary Mayorkas directed the agencies to provide him with a comprehensive enforcement action plan in 30 days, including a determination whether current trade law provides adequate authorities to solve the core issues.
“DHS will use all the tools at its disposal, including identifying suspicious transshipment practices, publicly identifying bad actors, isotopic testing, random parcel inspections, and other law enforcement efforts, in order to protect the integrity of our markets, hold perpetrators accountable, and safeguard the American textile industry,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas.