US Customs and Border Protection announced a ban on palm oil imports from Malaysia-based Sime Darby last week due to concerns over forced labor. The announcement follows a months-long investigation which “reasonably indicated” that the company uses forced labor in its production processes. The ban (formally called a “Withhold Release Order”) marks the second action taken against a major Malaysian palm oil company, following a September ban on imports from FGV Holdings. Here’s the full announcement.
More context: Palm oil is the world’s most consumed vegetable oil and is used in a wide range of products including food and cosmetics. The palm oil industry has faced increasing scrutiny amid concerns over human rights violations and labor conditions.