Statement of Commissioner Carl Bentzel Concerning the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act and Potential Supply Chain Disruptions
I commend the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for undertaking the statutorily mandated responsibility of preventing products mined or produced, wholly or in part, with forced labor from entering the U.S. I support the mandate to protect against the morally reprehensible use of forced labor in the production of goods entering into international trade, and support CBP’s efforts in implementing this legislation.
However, I am concerned that legitimate delays in ensuring compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act (UFLPA) could have the unintended consequences of creating additional cargo back-ups at U.S. marine terminals that could cause congestion and contribute to operational challenges. While we are increasingly gaining cargo fluidity at U.S. ports, we have suffered greatly as a nation during the pandemic with high congestion and huge volume swings of containerized cargo. Accordingly, I would urge you to consider recommendations outlined in my letter to help ensure the continued efficient and fluid movement of containerized cargo.
As a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Commissioner, I have been focused on efforts to harmonize data exchange on freight movement within the supply chain to create greater fluidity of movement. Over the past two years, I have convened 18 public meetings with over 80 supply chain experts, including the CBP, on my Maritime Transportation Data Initiative to address data supply chain fluidity. A large part of this initiative includes bringing private sector and public sector entities together to address complex and industry-sensitive operational issues.
Carl W. Bentzel is a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. The thoughts and comments expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.