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CBP's Solar Questionnaires Ask About Company Structure, Supply Chain Audits, Law Firm Says

CBP is asking solar companies about their corporate structure, overall supply chain, entries, accounting and financial practices, production, sales and sales and production reconciliations, law firm Morgan Lewis said in a March 13 blog post. The agency began sending the questionnaires in February to solar companies asking how they're guarding against the use of forced labor in their supply chains with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act top of mind for the agency (see 2402270061).

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"Surveys are being sent to importers and include requests on randomly selected entries for which the same level of supply chain tracing information will be required as in a detention case," the law firm said. "In addition, the questionnaire requires information on the importer’s corporate structure and overall supply chain within a specified timeframe. CBP is also asking for a detailed explanation of how companies are auditing their supply chains to determine if they are complying with their obligations under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA)."

The questionnaire asks about raw materials and the finished product, and requires separate responses "for all affiliates and entities," the firm said. The corporate structure section requires a "complete narrative history" of the company, and contains questions on measures to ensure imported goods are not produced with "convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor," Morgan Lewis said.

The overall supply chain section of the questionnaire asks for a description of the supply chain, including roles, relationships and "affidavits to verify the roles," the firm said. Other questions involve facility visits for production, compliance policies and procedures, and a "comprehensive listing of all solar imports," Morgan Lewis said.

The firm said the "walk-through entries" section focuses on the shipments that prompted the questionnaire and asks for importation documentation for "each entry and sales documentation" for U.S. customers.

The accounting and financial practices section of the questionnaire asks for financial statements, bank accounts and accounting practices for "possible raw materials procurement" for foreign affiliates, the firm said. The section also focuses on start-ups under three years old, Morgan Lewis said.

The law firm said that the production section asks for a detailed description of production processes and all documents used in the "normal course of business" of production. It also asks for a list of all raw materials and an explanation of how importers make sure there is no forced labor in their supply chain. CBP also requests a list of final products and "comprehensive documentation on those identified in Walk-Through Entries," Morgan Lewis said.

The sales section asks for sales documentation, marketing materials, a product list, a "method for obtaining" a certificate of origin, and the export process. The sales and production reconciliations section asks for a chart of sales and a reconciliation of sales.