U.S. Bans Seafood Imports From Chinese Company, Citing Use of Forced Labor

The U.S. banned imports of tuna, swordfish and other seafood from a Chinese fishery company, citing evidence of forced labor on its distant-water vessels, the Wall Street Journal reported. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents will detain shipments containing seafood harvested by China’s Dalian Ocean Fishing Co., officials said, in the latest example of Washington confronting Beijing over human-rights issues. “We have found evidence of all 11 forced labor indicators, including physical violence against fishers, debt bondage, withholding of wages and abusive living and working conditions,” Troy Miller, CBP’s senior official performing the duties of the Commissioner, told reporters Friday. The order applies to the Chinese company’s entire fleet of 32 vessels, which official said operate off the coasts of China, Indonesia and Senegal with mostly Indonesian crews. Canned tuna and pet food containing the company’s products were also banned. On Wednesday, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office asked the World Trade Organization to address forced labor on fishing vessels as part of the group’s global fisheries negotiations. The immediate impact of the latest order on the U.S.’s seafood supply will be minimal because of the small import volume from Dalian Ocean Fishing, which U.S. officials said was currently in bankruptcy proceedings. CBP says two shipments worth $230,000 of Dalian seafood entered the U.S. last year. But given that there were $21.6 million worth of imports from the company in 2018, the volume could increase significantly once it emerges from bankruptcy, Mr. Miller said. Read more. (Subscription required.)