• By The Financial District

U.S. QUIZZES 2 MALAYSIAN GLOVE MAKERS OVER FORCED LABOR RAPS

The United States is investigating Malaysian glove makers Hartalega Holdings and a unit of Supermax Corp. over allegations of forced labor, the Edge Weekly reported.

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The Edge cited two letters sent by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to labor rights activist Andy Hall, who petitioned the agency to investigate the firms, Reuters reported.


In both letters, the CBP said it has sufficient information to "investigate the merits" of Hall's allegations, the Edge reported. Hall confirmed to Reuters that he had received the letters.


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Hartalega did not comment on the US probe but said it strictly adhered to labor laws and regulations on the recruitment of migrant workers.


It also said its efforts to combat forced labor are guided by local and international policies.


"We understand that social compliance is an ongoing journey and we always strive for improvement," it said in an email to Reuters.


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


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In the last year, the CBP banned US imports from three Malaysian firms on suspicions of forced labor: Top Glove, the world's biggest latex glove manufacturer, and two top palm oil producers.


Top Glove said in April it has resolved all indicators of forced labor found at its factories. But the ban remains in place, and the agency this month seized two shipments of Top Glove products that entered the US. Reuters reported on Friday that Canada is also investigating allegations of forced labor in Malaysia's palm oil and glove manufacturing industries.



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