CBP headquarters ruling; cotton garments produced in part by forced labor in China

At issue was whether the detained cotton garments were subject to exclusion under the WRO.

At issue was whether the detained cotton garments were subject to exclusion under the WRO.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) publicly released a ruling letter concluding that certain detained cotton garments were produced in part by forced labor in China.

Read the Headquarters Ruling Letter HQ H318182 (May 10, 2021)


  • The Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach (port) on January 5, 2021, detained a shipment of cotton garments imported by a Japanese company for violating a CBP “withhold release order” (WRO) that prohibited the importation of all cotton and cotton products produced by a designated entity and its subordinate and affiliated entities, as well as any products that were made in whole or in part with, or derived from, that cotton, such as apparel, garments, and textiles.
  • The Japanese company on March 30, 2021, submitted a brief in response to CBP’s notice of detention that was considered by the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach.
  • The port on April 9, 2021, notified the Japanese company that the subject cotton garments would be excluded and that the company had 60 days from the date of that letter to export the subject merchandise from the United States under CBP supervision, and that if the merchandise were not exported within 60 days, it would be disposed of under CBP supervision.
  • The Japanese company on April 9, 2021, filed a protest with request for an “application for further review” (AFR) that was submitted on April 23, 2021.

At issue was whether the detained cotton garments were subject to exclusion under the WRO.

The CBP findings concluded that the Japanese company did not establish that the detained cotton garments were not produced in part by forced labor, and thus, the subject goods were inadmissible.

For more information on this topic or to learn more about KPMG’s Trade & Customs Services, contact:

Doug Zuvich
Partner and Global Practice Leader
T: 312-665-1022
E: dzuvich@kpmg.com

John L. McLoughlin
Principal and East Coast Leader
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E: jlmcloughlin@kpmg.com

Andy Siciliano
Partner and National Practice Leader
T: 631-425-6057
E: asiciliano@kpmg.com

Steve Brotherton
Principal and Global Export and Sanctions Leader
T: 415-963-7861
E: sbrotherton@kpmg.com

Luis (Lou) Abad
Principal, Washington National Tax
T: 212-954-3094
E: labad@kpmg.com

Irina Vaysfeld
T: 212-872-2973
E: ivaysfeld@kpmg.com

Amie Ahanchian
T: 202-533-3247
E: aahanchian@kpmg.com

Christopher Young
T: 312-665-3229
E: christopheryoung@kpmg.com

Gisele Belotto
Managing Director
T: 305-913-2779
E: gbelotto@kpmg.com

George Zaharatos
T: 404-222-3292
E: gzaharatos@kpmg.com

Andy Doornaert
Managing Director
T: 313-230-3080
E: adoornaert@kpmg.com

Jessica Libby
Managing Director
T: 612-305-5533
E: jlibby@kpmg.com

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