WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today applauded Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), the leaders of the House Select Committee on the CCP, for urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to aggressively strengthen enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). The letter, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal, outlines a number of factors that “seriously undermine the effective enforcement of the UFLPA.”
Specifically, the letter highlights how the de minimis loophole has caused imports to surge “from 150 million packages in 2016 to 720 million in 2021, of which more than half—440 million packages—were from the PRC. This exponential growth continued in 2023, with de minimis shipments topping one billion.” In June 2023, the House China Committee’s report on Chinese fast fashion companies “found that PRC companies rely on the de minimis provision to avoid bearing responsibility for compliance with the UFLPA and other prohibitions on forced labor while relying on tens of thousands of PRC suppliers to ship goods direct to U.S. consumers.”
Additionally, the letter warns that “the de minimis provision has created a major avenue for goods made by forced labor—as well as fentanyl, counterfeit products, and other unsafe goods—to enter the U.S. market.” In November 2023, CPA, along with a coalition of law enforcement and other organizations devoted to fighting against the fentanyl crisis plaguing our nation, urged President Biden to take immediate action to close the de minimis loophole, which is contributing to the current drug crisis, including the importation of deadly fentanyl, that is plaguing American families and communities.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), imports using the de minimis loophole include “high-risk shipments that may contain narcotics, merchandise that pose a risk to public safety, counterfeits, or other contraband.” CBP recently stated that the agency “continues to see bad actors seeking to exploit the increasing volumes of de minimis shipments to transit illicit goods, including fentanyl and the precursors and paraphernalia used to manufacture it.”
According to the State Department, “Illicit fentanyl shipments directly shipped to the United States via air cargo, international mail, and express consignment are high-purity, low-weight shipments destined for criminal groups or individuals in the United States. Most originate in China with suppliers who use international mail consolidators to mask the origin of the shipments.”
“We applaud Chairman Gallagher and Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi for exposing the serious deficiencies at DHS when it comes to enforcing the UFLPA,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA. “Not only has DHS failed to add Chinese companies complicit in forced labor to the UFLPA Entity List, but DHS has also failed to take action to prevent the CCP from exploiting the de minimis loophole to evade UFLPA enforcement. The CCP is using the de minimis loophole to ship forced labor goods and illicit drugs like fentanyl to the United States. The Biden administration must take swift action to close this loophole, it should issue nationwide withhold release order on all Chinese textiles, and Congress should pass legislation immediately.”
Stumo recently testified in front of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability on how the de minimis loophole is contributing to the nation’s fentanyl crisis. Last year, Stumo wrote in an op-ed that “the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that the fentanyl being shipped directly to U.S. homes is extremely potent — often with more than 90 percent purity. That’s far stronger than the average 10 percent concentration for fentanyl seized at the border.”