Top Glove has petitioned against import ban, U.S. Customs says

by Reuters
Thursday, 30 July 2020 09:56 GMT

A worker inspects newly made gloves at Top Glove factory in Klang, Malaysia, March 3, 2020. Anas Zakwan/Handout via REUTERS

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Top Glove Corporation have denied claims they used forced labour after import bans by the United States

By Liz Lee

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 (Reuters) - Leading medical glove maker Top Glove Corporation has submitted information to prove it did not use forced labour, a U.S. Customs official said on Wednesday, following an import ban on the company.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) placed a detention order on imports from two subsidiaries of Top Glove two weeks ago, an action taken on firms suspected of operating with forced labour.

"Top Glove submitted an initial petition to CBP. CBP responded by identifying additional information needs. Dialogue between CBP and Top Glove is ongoing," the CBP said in an email to Reuters.

It said it could not specify a timeline for resolving the concerns and will not modify or revoke a "Withhold Release Order" until it receives proof that establishes the admissibility of the affected merchandise.

Banned importers have three months to submit proof, including a detailed statement demonstrating that the detained goods were not produced with forced labour, the CBP says.

Top Glove said in a bourse statement on Thursday that it has been "in cordial and constructive engagement" with the CBP since July 17.

"We have made good progress and look forward to arriving at an agreement on remediation within the month of August 2020, upon which we plan to commence remediation payments immediately," it said, referring to the remediation of workers' recruitment fees.

"Extensive reporting by non-governmental organisations and the media has documented the existence of forced labour in the rubber glove industry in Malaysia," CBP said, adding that it continues to receive and investigate allegations of forced labour in industries connected to U.S. supply chains.

The bar on Top Glove's units did not dampen investor appetite in the company, whose share price rose to historical highs in the week after the Customs' detention. Top Glove's shares have climbed 450% this year, driven by demand associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Share prices of other major glove producers, including Hartalega Holdings, Kossan Rubber Industries and Supermax Corporation have soared by 270%, 320% and 1,231% respectively year to date.

(Reporting by Liz Lee; editing by Barbara Lewis and Jason Neely)