U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials announced a ban on the importation of certain seafood products from a Chinese Communist-regime fishing company known as Dalian Ocean Co. after confirming that its workers are subjected to slave labor. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Friday imposed a new ban on the importation of seafood such as tuna, swordfish, and other seafood from a Chinese fishing fleet that the agency says uses forced labor on its 32 vessels, which are operated primarily by Indonesian workers, the Washington Examiner reported.

“Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, issued Withholding Release Orders (WROs) for seafood imported from Dalian Ocean Fishing Company, a People’s Republic of China (PRC) company for which there is credible evidence of the use of forced labor to harvest its seafood products, primarily tuna. As a result, the United States prohibits the importation of seafood products from this company,” said the official statement released Friday.

CBP officials said the agency’s investigation revealed that many Indonesian workers hired on Dalian Ocean Fishing vessels encountered conditions far different from what they expected and were subjected to physical violence, debt, and abusive living and working conditions.

Earlier this week, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai drew attention to the issue of forced labor on fishing vessels by submitting a new proposal to the World Trade Organization to curb subsidies for illegal fishing and require member countries to recognize and address the problem.

U.S. law prohibits the importation of products made with forced labor. Today’s action helps prevent human rights abusers from profiting from this type of labor. It is also another example of the U.S. taking action to address harmful fishing practices.

In 2020 under the Trump administration, the United States revoked more than a dozen visas for individuals complicit in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing with links to human trafficking.

In addition, during that same period, CBP announced 13 bans on imports from specific companies or governments that its investigators found enslaved workers, physically mistreated people, placed them in dangerous situations, and undercompensated. 

As those bans went into effect, CBP officers at ports of entry began seizing goods, collecting more than $50 million in goods during 2020.

CBP has focused much of its efforts over the past year on blocking imports made from forced trade in Chinese companies based in the Xinjiang region. It is estimated that more than 1 million Uighur Muslims have been detained in forced labor camps, persecuted for their religious belief.

In this regard, the U.S. CBP authority announced in mid-January, still during President Trump’s administration, the absolute ban on all products made with cotton and tomatoes coming from Xinjiang province, China, precisely because these are the result of forced labor of Uighurs persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

At the time, Ken Cuccinelli, deputy secretary of DHS said in a statement:

 “We will continue to protect the American people and investigate credible allegations of forced labor, prevent goods manufactured through forced labor from entering our country, and demand that the Chinese close their camps and stop their human rights violations.”

The issue of forced labor is a growing sticking point in the strained relations between the United States and the Chinese regime, which obviously does not acknowledge its system of exploitation, despite the fact that it is increasingly evident from the huge number of consistent reports coming from various parts of the world. 

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