US Seizes Shipment From Malaysia’s Top Glove Over Forced Labor Concerns

By Reuters
May 13, 2021US News
US Seizes Shipment From Malaysia’s Top Glove Over Forced Labor Concerns
A worker inspects newly made gloves at Top Glove factory in Klang, Malaysia, on March 3, 2020. (Top Gloves/Anas Zakwan/Handout via Reuters)

KUALA LUMPUR—The United States seized latex gloves made by Malaysian firm Top Glove Corp Bhd after a shipment was found in Kansas City despite an import ban on its products over forced labor allegations, U.S. customs said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said its officials at the Port of Kansas City seized 4.68 million latex gloves produced by a Top Glove unit in Malaysia with an estimated value of $690,000.

In response, Top Glove said it has informed the U.S. agency that it has remediated all forced labor indicators found at the firm.

This is the second Top Glove shipment seized in about a week. On May 5, U.S. Customs seized 3.97 million nitrile gloves worth $518,000.

A worker works at a production line in Top Glove factory in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on Aug. 26, 2020. (Lim Huey Teng/File Photo/Reuters)

The seizure shows that there is demand for Top Glove products despite the U.S. ban first announced in July last year. Top Glove is the world’s biggest glove maker and has seen global demand soar due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Customs prohibited the import of Top Glove products last year, saying it had found reasonable evidence of forced labor.

And in March, it said it had found evidence of multiple forced labor indicators in Top Glove’s production process, including debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents, and directed its officials to seize goods from the manufacturer.

Top Glove said in April it has resolved all indicators of forced labor in its operations and that this had been verified by London-based ethical trade consultant Impactt Limited.

By A. Ananthalakshmi and Liz Lee

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