U.S. bans Malaysian glove maker Supermax over alleged labour abuses

·1 min read

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The United States said it has banned imports from Malaysian glove maker Supermax Corp and its units over alleged forced labour practices at the company.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a 'Withhold Release Order' that prohibits imports based on reasonable information that indicates the use of forced labour in Supermax's manufacturing operations, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

"With 10 of the 11 forced labour indicators identified during the course of our investigation, CBP has ample evidence to conclude that Supermax and its subsidiaries produce gloves in violation of U.S. trade law," said AnnMarie R. Highsmith, Executive Assistant Commissioner at the CBP Office of Trade.

Supermax did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In May, Supermax said it adhered to labour laws on treatment of migrant workers and was committed to combating forced labour, following a media report that the CBP had opened investigations into the company.

Malaysian firms have increasingly come under scrutiny over allegations of abuse of foreign workers, who form a significant part of the country's manufacturing workforce.

Supermax's bigger Malaysian rival Top Glove - the world's largest latex glove maker - was barred by the CBP over similar allegations last July, but the ban was lifted last month after the company resolved the labour issues.

Palm oil producers Sime Darby Plantation and FGV Holdings have also been banned by the CBP in the last year over forced labour allegations.

The two companies have both appointed auditors to evaluate their practices and said they would engage with CBP to address the concerns raised. (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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