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Multiple Malaysian Companies Facing Forced Labor Allegations

Three rubber gloves makers, an electronics manufacturing company and an event management company, all based in Malaysia, are the subjects of recent petitions to CBP alleging the use of forced labor and are being investigated by the agency, said Andy Hall, a British human rights activist who filed the allegations. Hall said he previously filed an allegation against Top Glove, which is now subject to a CBP finding that forced labor is in its supply chain (see 2103260028) and has had at least two big shipments seized as a result (see 2105120039 and 2105040041).

The three glove companies named in the most recent filings are Hartalega Holdings, Smart Glove and Maxter/Supermax. Electronics manufacturer ATA Industrial was also named in a petition, as was event management company Qube. None of the companies responded to requests for comment. Hall provided to International Trade Today CBP's responses to the allegations against Hartalega, Smart Glove, Maxter/Supermax, ATA Industrial and Qube. All were dated between February and May and say “CBP reviewed the petition and determined the information is sufficient to investigate the merits of this allegation.”

CBP's responses also said that “the length of time needed to review an allegation depends on a variety of factors, some of which are beyond CBP’s control,” and that “if CBP finds the information meets the threshold, CBP will issue a Withhold Release Order.” Hall also previously filed petitions against palm oil company FGV Holdings, which is now subject to a WRO (see 2012300007), and glove maker WRP Asia Pacific, which was subject to a 2019 WRO (see 1910010017) but isn't any longer (see 2003250020). Another Malaysian glove company, Brightway Holdings, is facing a CBP investigation based on a petition from Hall, Reuters recently reported.

When asked about a report in The Edge Markets that mentioned the allegations against ATA Industrial, a CBP spokesperson said that “as a matter of policy, CBP does not comment on whether it is investigating specific entities.” The agency didn't respond to a later request for comment about the other companies mentioned by Hall.