Due to forced labor, they close the door to tomato exports to Mexican farms

This October 21 the office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP for its acronym in English) of the United States, issued a withholding order for the release of tomatoes produced by farms in Mexico, produced by the tomato farm Agropecuarios Tom SA de CV and Horticola SA de CV, and their subsidiaries.

The issuance of the order to retain the products in customs, is due to the fact that the use of forced labor against their workers. CBP identified at least five of the International Labor Organization’s indicators of forced labor during its investigation, including abuse of vulnerability, deception, wage withholding, debt bondage, and abusive living and working conditions. The measure will only affect fresh tomato imports into the United States from this specific farm and its subsidiaries.

“The Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada established a solid framework for CBP to work closely with our counterparts. mexican and Canadians, ”said Troy Miller, Acting CBP Commissioner. “We are confident that the foundations we have built with our Mexican partners will enable a collaborative and multilateral response to forced labor enforcement actions within North American supply chains.”

Federal statute -19 USC 1307- prohibits the importation of goods produced, in whole or in part, by convicted labor, forced labor, and / or contract labor, including child labor forced or hired. CBP stops shipments of merchandise suspected of being imported in violation of this statute. Importers of detained shipments have the opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced by forced labor.

In October 2020, Mexican authorities took action against allegations of forced labor conditions on the same tomato farm, demonstrating the Mexican government’s shared commitment to protecting workers’ human rights.


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