KUALA LUMPUR – The United States on Wednesday announced it will be banning imports of palm oil from Malaysian company FGV Holdings citing an investigation have uncovered indication that it is using forced labor in the production process.
Executive assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade Brenda Smith said that they are issuing a Withhold Release Order on all palm and palm oil products from FGV Holdings Berhad.
FGV is considered one of the world’s largest palm oil companies in which the Malaysian government has a 12.4% stake on it.
Smith said that the decision came after a year-long investigation that indicate signs of forced label. The investigation revealed that a number of forced labor indicator, abuse of vulnerability, deception, restriction of movement, isolation, physical and sexual violence, intimidation and threats. CBP also had an allegation that forced child labor is potentially being used in the FGV palm oil production process.
The CBP ban came in after rights groups called on US authorities to conduct an investigation about forced labour and human trafficking in the facilities.
There are currently 84% or 337,000 workersof the palm plantation. Most of them foreign workers from Indonesia, India and Bangladesh.
Liberty Shared, an anti-trafficking group sent a petition to CBP against Malaysian palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation. Indonesia and Malaysia are the two biggest producers of palm oil in the world.