A new report from The Associated Press released this week claims that a coalition of major U.S. companies including Walmart and General Motors are quietly lobbying the government to make certain import data confidential.
That change would make it more difficult for journalists and human rights activists to link imported goods to abusive labor practices overseas, including forced labor in China’s Xinjiang province and child labor in Africa.
Human rights lawyer Martina Vandenberg called the closed-door proposals “outrageous” and said American corporations should be “ashamed that their answer to this abuse is to end transparency.”
“Curtailing access to this information will make it harder for the public to monitor a shipping industry that already functions largely in the shadows,” agreed University of British Columbia professor Peter Klein, a prominent analyst of global supply chains.
The corporate executives who make up the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee are proposing to modernize the import/export procedures in a variety of ways, which wold make “data collected from vessel manifests confidential”
Stunning that they’d want to hide this information, isn’t it? This would keep the current practice of journalists ability using shipping manifests to determine where goods manufactured or harvested with abusive labor practices were sent. This is a tactic used to pressure U.S. companies to stop supporting and allowing them to use forced labor in their supply chains to increase profits and corporate greeds.
The AP points out, this seems directly contrary to CBP’s commitment to “boost visibility into global supply chains, support ethical sourcing practices and level the playing field for domestic U.S. manufacturers.”
Corporate public relations departments have also been assuring American consumers they wish to cleanse their supply chains of forced labor and child labor. Looks like that was an obvious lie, doesn’t it?
The Advisory Committee claims this would protect American businesses from data theft, which they claim has become “more commonplace, severe, and consequential.”
Read more from our friends at Breitbart.
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