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International relations

US Customs finds forced labor at Malaysia's Top Glove

Ports directed to seize goods from world's largest medical glove maker

 A Top Glove plant in Shah Alam, Malaysia: the U.S. customs authority said March 29 that it has sufficient information to determine labor abuses at the world's top medical glove maker.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -- The U.S. Customs has found forced labor practices in Top Glove Corp Bhd's production of disposable gloves and directed its ports to seize goods from the manufacturer, it said on Monday.

In a statement overnight, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it has sufficient information to determine labor abuses at the world's largest medical glove maker.

CBP issued an order in July last year that barred imports from two of Top Glove's subsidiaries on suspicion of labor abuses.

The ban now extends "to all disposable gloves originating in Top Glove factories in Malaysia," it told Reuters.

Top Glove shares fell nearly 5% in early morning trade.

Top Glove told Reuters its U.S. counsels are liaising with representatives from the CBP to obtain more clarity and information on the matter.

CBP said its finding does not impact the vast majority of disposable gloves imported into the United States which are critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"CBP has taken steps to ensure that this targeted enforcement action against Top Glove will not have a significant impact on total U.S. imports of disposable gloves," John Leonard, CBP Acting Executive Assistant Commissioner for Trade said in the statement.

Top Glove has said in the past months that it has taken extensive rectification actions to improve its labour practices.

Ethical trade consultancy Impactt, appointed by Top Glove to assess its trade and labour practices, reported earlier this month that as at January, it "no longer" found indicators of systemic forced labour at the manufacturer.

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