What is the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA)?

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), passed on December 21, 2021, is the culmination of a years-long investigation by the United States into alleged human rights abuses perpetrated on Uyghur, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslim ethnic minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The UFLPA, which went into effect on June 21, 2022, is unique in its enforcement protocol. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has made clear that all imports from Xinjiang will at least be detained – in some cases seized – unless the importer can provide “clear and convincing evidence” that the goods are free of forced labor. Rebutting the assumption of forced labor requires meticulous supply chain documentation demonstrating that the goods in question are either a) unconnected with Xinjiang, or b) connected with Xinjiang but nevertheless free of forced labor.


Why is the UFLPA important?

Since 2017, some 1.8 million people have been subject to political indoctrination, forced labor, physical violence, forcible drug intake, sexual abuse, and torture at the hands of the Chinese national government. Chinese authorities have been relocating and detaining Uyghurs en masse in purportedly abolished “re-education through labor” (RTL) facilities. Those who remain outside these camps suffer discriminatory surveillance technologies and coercion through “arbitrary administrative and criminal provisions,” many of which aim to curb Uyghur birth rates. In January 2021, China’s treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang had officially been declared a genocide by the U.S. Secretary of State.

The UFLPA has received an immense amount of funding as it represents a political determination on behalf of the United States to acknowledge and deter the use of Uyghur forced labor.

What makes the UFLPA different?

When it comes to the UFLPA, you won’t find pages and pages of legal jargon. The act is a mere 54 words long, but has the potential to disrupt a vast amount of global trade. The affected imports are not limited to shipments directly from China; any product made either partially in or with materials from Xinjiang is banned from entering the U.S. The value of finished goods with a link to the Xinjiang region has been estimated at a massive $64 billion.

The UFLPA is unique because it’s all encompassing. Any product, no matter the kind, is subject to the law. In the past, these kinds of forced labor trade laws were generally focused around a category of product, such as cotton. The UFLPA on the other hand is likely to disrupt a number of industries, particularly textiles, tomatoes, and polysilicon used in solar panels.

>> Learn the 5 ways the UFLPA is making trade history <<

Is there a list of entities to avoid under the UFLPA?

Difficult as it has been for U.S. authorities to pinpoint sources of forced labor in Xinjiang, CBP has released a list of sanctioned entities known to have committed human rights violations. These names are a helpful step toward enabling compliance, but importers will have to go further if they are to provide the documentation necessary to rebut the assumption of forced labor in their supply chains.

If I’m not importing from China, do I still need to worry about the UFLPA?

Yes. Because the UFLPA applies not just to goods made in Xinjiang and by named entities, but also to goods with inputs from Xinjiang, all supply chains should be audited for risk exposure.

Illegal transshipment is one method by which inputs made with forced labor may enter the U.S. undetected. According to UFLPA statistics released by CBP, $1,043 million worth of shipments from Malaysia were subjected to UFLPA enforcement actions since the implementation of UFLPA, more than four times that of shipments from China. While not all of these shipments were denied entry into the United States, they were at least examined for suspected ties to Xinjiang.

The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) made heavy use of transshipment evasion when it was designated by the U.S. government in 2020. A 2021 study published by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) found that, since 2019, XPCC majority-owned companies “have exported 4,559 shipments to their top trade partners, who then re-exported these goods to the United States and other countries.”

All U.S. importers are therefore strongly advised to trace and document their supply chain inputs, regardless of where in the world they are sourced.

How can I ensure I’m in compliance with the UFLPA?

This law has shifted the burden of proof to the importer. Any product that has contact with the Xinjiang region is presumed to be manufactured through forced labor and therefore banned. If an importer believes their product from Xinjiang was not made with forced labor, they will need to provide thorough, third-party vetted documentation that proves otherwise.

If a customs investigation is able to find that any one person involved with the shipment had knowledge of the use of forced labor, they would be charged with the criminal statute of forced labor.

>> Learn how to identify Xinjiang forced labor in global supply chains in our masterclass <<

Importers should look to mitigate the risk of Xinjiang forced labor in their supply chains by conducting thorough audits. Sayari Graph utilizes open-source records and graph technology to map out connections and establish links between illicit actors, their infrastructure, and related business structures and transactions. This technology can be used to look for indicators of forced labor in Chinese public records, scan for known high-risk companies, and screen beneficial owners to ensure a supply chain is unexposed.

>> See how Sayari can be used to investigate global supply chains for forced labor <<

How Sayari helps Companies Comply with the UFLPA

Rely on the same data CBP uses

Leverage a DHS CBP UFLPA Entity List enriched with 5K previously unidentified subsidiaries, joint ventures, branches & affiliates

Quickly identify Xinjiang forced labor risk for UFLPA compliance

Search and view profiles on 1.6M corporate entities geolocated in Xinjiang Province as well as 91M Chinese company profiles including 20+ forced labor Risk Factors, including subtier trade linked to Xinjiang.

Translate Chinese entity names and records

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UFLPA Tutorial

Watch a step-by-step tutorial on uncovering links to Xinjiang forced labor in global supply chains.

Additional UFLPA Resources