US Customs seizes Malaysia's Top Glove shipment following forced labour finding

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) – The US Customs and Border Protection has seized a shipment of 3.97 million nitrile disposable gloves from Malaysia’s Top Glove Corp estimated to be worth US$518,000 (S$692,000), on indications they were made by forced labour, it said on Wednesday (May 5).

CBP on March 29 issued a forced labor finding based on evidence of multiple forced labour indicators in the world’s largest medical glove maker’s production process.

It had initially banned products from two of Top Glove’s subsidiaries last July, but extended the ban to all of the manufacturer’s products made in Malaysia in March.

The indicators included debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents, the CBP said in a statement.

The agency then directed personnel at all US ports of entry to begin seizing disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by the glove maker.

“CBP continues to facilitate the importation of legitimate PPE needed for the Covid-19 pandemic while ensuring that the PPE is authorised and safe for use,” Ms Diann Rodriguez, Area Port Director-Cleveland, referring to personal protective equipment.

Top Glove said last month its glove production has been affected because of the US ban, and announced last week it had resolved all indicators of forced labour in its operations, citing a report by the ethical trade consultancy it hired.

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