Section 307 and Imports Produced by Forced Labor



Congressional Research Service

Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1307) prohibits the importation of any product that was mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor, including forced or indentured child labor. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is charged with enforcing the prohibition.

U.S. customs law has contained prohibitions against importing goods produced by certain categories of labor since the end of the nineteenth century. Beginning in 1890, the United States prohibited imports of goods manufactured with convict labor. In 1930, Congress expanded this prohibition in Section 307 of the Tariff Act to include any (not just manufactured) products of forced labor. Although a few Members of Congress brought up humanitarian concerns during debate, the central legislative concern was with protecting domestic producers from competing with products made with forced labor. As such, Section 307 allowed the admission of products of forced labor if it could be shown that no comparable product was made in the United States or the level of domestic production did not meet domestic demand (“consumptive demand” provision).

Over the decades, lawmakers and civil society became increasingly aware of and concerned about forced labor in the context of human trafficking. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 (P.L. 106- 386), for example, included forced labor in its definition of human trafficking. In 2015, Congress decided to remove the “consumptive demand” clause as part of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA P.L. 114- 125), reflecting this increased interest in addressing human rights abuses in the context of forced labor.

Section 307

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