LatinNews Daily - 24 November 2022

In brief: US blocks sugar imports from leading Dominican firm

* The US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has announced that it will detain imports of raw sugar and sugar-based products produced by Dominican firm Central Romana Corporation Limited, based on information that “reasonably indicates the use of forced labour in its operations”. CBP said that in an investigation, it had identified five of the International Labour Organization’s 11 indicators of forced labour: “abuse of vulnerability, isolation, withholding of wages, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime”. In September 2022, the US Department of Labour included sugarcane from the Dominican Republic in its List of Goods Produced by Child Labour or Forced Labour. The US is the most important market for Dominican sugar and Central Romana, the largest local private producer, continues to dominate the Dominican sugar market; it is responsible for approximately 59% of total production, on estimates by US Department of Agriculture which states that total sugar production rose to 611,536 metric tonnes (t) in the October 2020/September 2021 period, comprising 444,897t of raw and 166,639t of refined sugar. In a statement, Central Romana said that it had received the US announcement with “great astonishment” and said that the reasons given for the measure did “not reflect” the firm’s “policies and practices”.

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