The US has banned the import of surgical gloves from two subsidiaries of Malaysia’s High Glove — the world’s largest producer of the product — over compelled labour issues, regardless of hovering demand in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nations worldwide have been scrambling to top off on protecting gear, from gloves to faces masks, because the pandemic started earlier this 12 months.
However Malaysia’s High Glove mentioned Thursday the ban impacts about half of its gross sales to the US.
US Customs and Border Safety confirmed a ban on the 2 subsidiaries’ merchandise getting into the nation, with out providing particulars. Nonetheless, the ban was imposed via a “withhold launch order”, which is said to compelled labour issues.
Malaysia is the world’s largest provider of rubber gloves however the trade has lengthy confronted allegations of mistreating its workforce, who’re primarily low-paid migrants.
High Glove beforehand confronted allegations in media experiences that its workers labored in exploitative situations, however insists it has labored onerous to resolve any issues.
The corporate mentioned it wanted to contact US officers to seek out out why the ban was imposed, however it might relate to the difficulty of charges paid by international staff to employment brokers.
Migrant staff usually pay giant sums to safe jobs in Malaysia however activists have lengthy complained in regards to the apply.
High Glove mentioned it had been masking all recruitment charges since January 2019 nevertheless it nonetheless wanted to return charges to staff paid earlier than then.
“Over the previous few months, we now have been engaged on this difficulty which includes in depth tracing, to ascertain the right amount to be paid again to our staff,” mentioned an organization assertion.
The agency mentioned it hoped to get the ban lifted inside two weeks. Its shares slipped 2.5 % following the information.
One other Malaysian glove maker, WRP, was hit with a US ban final 12 months nevertheless it was lifted in March.
High Glove, which might produce greater than 70 billion gloves a 12 months, has seen surging demand because the begin of the coronavirus pandemic.
The US is the hardest-hit nation on the planet, with greater than 137,000 COVID-19 deaths and practically 3.5 million infections, in line with a Johns Hopkins College tracker.
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