written by: Wongani chipeta
The United States Government effective July 31, 2020 has yet again modified its ban on Malawian tobacco imports by allowing Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company to export the leaf to that country’s ports of entry.
Avant has established that the US government has gathered enough evidence that sufficiently supports Limbe Leaf’s claims that tobacco from its farms is not produced and harvested using forced labour.
The decision comes after US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) previously denied tobacco imports from Limbe Leaf entry into that country on suspicion that the leaf was produced using forced child labour.
Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner for CBP Office of Trade, Brenda Smith issuing a statement yesterday, said they modified the Withhold Release Order (WRO) against tobacco from Malawi issued last November following a rigorous evaluation of Limbe Leaf’s social compliance programme and efforts to identify and minimise the risks of forced labour from its supply chain.
US law prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labour, including convict labour, forced child labour and indentured labour.
The Tobacco Commission (TC) has meanwhile described the softening of the WRO on Malawi tobacco as a ‘big relief’ to Malawi’s tobacco industry.