Top Glove has petitioned against import ban, US Customs says

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) – Leading medical glove maker Top Glove Corporation has submitted information to prove it did not use forced labour, a US Customs official said on Wednesday (July 29), following an import ban on the company.

US 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 e-mail 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 did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the petition.

“Extensive reporting by non-governmental organisations and the media has documented the existence of forced labour in the rubber glove industry in Malaysia,” the CBP said, adding that it continues to receive and investigate allegations of forced labour in industries connected to US 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 456 per cent 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 267 per cent, 330 per cent and 1,244 per cent, respectively, in the year-to-date.

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