US finds no forced labour in Sime Darby’s palm oil production
In December 2020, the Customs and Border Protection issued a withhold release order and found no forced labour in Sime Darby’s Plantation Bhd’s products.
PETALING JAYA: The United States has cleared Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) of allegations of forced labour in the production of its palm oil and derivative products, a filing under the US Federal Register showed.
According to the filing dated Jan 31 and posted in the register today, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it had satisfactory evidence that SDP no longer used forced labour to produce its palm oil products.
“It is hereby determined that the articles described below are no longer being mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with the use of convict, forced, or indentured labour by the Sime Darby Plantation, its subsidiaries, and joint ventures,” the filing read.
FMT has reached out to the US Office of Trade for further information.
In December 2020, CBP issued a withhold release order (WRO) on SDP’s products following allegations of forced labour, effectively banning imports of the company’s products into the US.
The order was issued after the CBP obtained information that “reasonably indicates” the presence of all 11 of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) forced labour indicators.
Among these indicators include restriction of movement, physical and sexual violence, intimidation and threats, retention of identity documents, withholding of wages, and excessive overtime.
In April last year, Sime Darby submitted a report to the CBP to lift the WRO.
The report includes a detailed assessment of the company’s Malaysian operations mapped against each of the ILO’s forced labour indicators.
Eight Malaysian companies, including those involved in palm oil and glove manufacturing, were previously on a list of firms which had their products banned from entering the US due to “reasonable evidence” of forced labour practices.
Two glove manufacturers, Top Glove and WRP Asia Pacific, have since been removed from the list after satisfying CBP’s requirements.