On November 1, 2019, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it has issued a withhold release order on tobacco from Malawi and products containing tobacco from Malawi. The products will be detained at all US ports of entry. CBP issued the WRO based on information collected by the agency that reasonably indicates the tobacco from Malawi is produced using forced labor and forced child labor.

According to CBP’s press release on the subject, while the WRO will require detention of tobacco from Malawi at all US ports of entry, the WRO is not a ban. Rather, importers may offer proof that their tobacco and tobacco-containing products do not include tobacco from Malawi that was produced with labor prohibited under US law. Importers of shipments detained under this WRO are also provided an opportunity to export their shipments under certain circumstances.