Shah Alam, Malaysia – Top Glove is studying a new withhold release order finding issued by the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP), which said it had "sufficient information to determine labour abuses" at the glove making group.
“We are currently reviewing CBP’s news release, and our US counsels are liaising with CBP’s representatives for sufficient information to meaningfully address the issuance of the recent finding,” said Top Glove in a statement 30 March.
We look forward to receiving pertinent information and working with CBP to quickly resolve the matter, the statement added.
In a 29 March statement, CBP said its findings were the result of a “months-long investigation aimed at preventing goods made by modern slavery from entering US commerce.”
CBP issued a withhold order in July last year on products from two of Top Glove’s subsidiaries due to forced labour concerns.
The new finding ‘expands upon’ the previous order, which CBP said "was based on reasonable but not conclusive information."
The new order extends “to all disposable gloves originating in Top Glove factories in Malaysia.”
In response to the move, Top Glove said it had submitted a report dated 16 March prepared by independent international UK consultant, Impactt Ltd to CBP for review and had taken “all the necessary measures required by CBP to ensure all concerns are addressed.”
Impactt has been advising Top Glove since last July on measures for improving its policies and practices.
According to Top Glove, Impactt issued a statement on 9 March, saying that their findings confirmed that there was no systemic forced labour across the eleven International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) indicators in its direct operations.
“Top Glove understands the concerns of all our stakeholders, including CBP, to ensure that forced labour is not present in the manufacturing of gloves and personal protective equipment,” Top Glove said, adding that addressing the issue was its “top priority”.
As of mid-day of 31 March, Top Glove shares were down 11% at MYR4.49 at the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.