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Article

31 May 2021

Author:
David Lawder, Reuters (UK)

USA bans imports from Chinese fishing fleet of Dalian Ocean Fishing over forced labour allegations

"U.S. bans imports from Chinese fishing fleet over forced labour allegations", 31 May 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Friday imposed a new import ban on seafood from a Chinese fishing fleet that the agency says is using forced labour on its 32 vessels, including abuses against many Indonesian workers.

The CBP said it will immediately detain tuna, swordfish and other products from the Dalian Ocean Fishing Co Ltd at U.S. ports of entry. The "withhold release order" banning the imports also applies to other end-use products containing seafood from the company, such as canned tuna and pet food, a CBP official said.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the action marks the first time the CBP has banned imports from an entire fishing fleet, as opposed to the individual vessels targeted in the past. [...]

China's foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that accusations of forced labour were "completely groundless".

Speaking at a regular briefing in Beijing on Monday, he said China would take "necessary measures" to safeguard its companies' rights.

CBP officials said the agency's investigation revealed that many Indonesian workers hired onto Dalian Ocean Fishing vessels found conditions far different than what they expected and were subjected to physical violence, withholding of pay, debt bondage and abusive working and living conditions. [...]

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