ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Companies

US bars imports of Malaysia's Top Glove over alleged labor abuse

Foreign worker issues are already resolved, top manufacturer says

A Top Glove factory: The company counts on the North American market for nearly a quarter of its sales. (Photo courtesy of Top Glove)

SINGAPORE -- Malaysia's Top Glove, the world's largest maker of rubber gloves, had imports of its products blocked by U.S. customs authorities, the company said Thursday, in what appears to be an action prompted by allegations of labor abuse.

The Malaysian stock exchange halted trading of Top Glove shares in response to a detention order by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The company is also traded on the Singapore Exchange, where its shares ended down 11%.

"There is a possibility this may be related to foreign labor issues which we have already resolved, save for one more issue with regard to retrospective payment of recruitment fees," Top Glove said in a statement.

The company said it was reaching out to U.S. customs officials for further details, and aims to resolve the issue within two weeks.

Roughly 11,000 out of the 13,000 workers at Top Gloves factories come from outside Malaysia. Working conditions at these plants have come under scrutiny after British broadcaster Channel 4 reported on the exploitation of foreign workers there last month.

Top Glove on Thursday stressed that most of its issues with foreign workers have already been resolved. It is now working to repay the 20 million ringgit to 50 million ringgit ($4.68 million to $11.7 million) these workers paid as recruitment fees in the past.

Top Glove has experienced a surge in demand for its latex gloves as the coronavirus outbreak spreads across the world. It logged 575 million ringgit in net profit in the nine months through May, beating its full-year record in just three quarters. Its share price had also grown more than five times at one point from the beginning of the year.

North America is Top Glove's largest market, accounting for 24% of total sales. Orders from the U.S. have increased 150% since before the pandemic.

But U.S. and European authorities and consumers are sensitive to the issue of worker exploitation. Should the current problem drag on, Top Glove could suffer a heavy blow to its earnings.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more