Imports of crude sugar from a company in the Dominican Republic will be blocked at all U.S. ports after the alleged use of forced labor in its production, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced this week.
The order against Central Romana Corporation Limited was issued after an investigation found that the company subjected workers to abusive working and living conditions, withheld wages, excessive overtime and other labor violations, CBP said.
“Manufacturers like Central Romana, who fail to abide by our laws, will face consequences as we root out these inhumane practices from U.S. supply chains,” AnnMarie Highsmith, Executive Assistant Commissioner, CBP Office of Trade said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Central Romana said the company would work with CBP to resolve the matter.
“We disagree vehemently with the decision as we do not believe it reflects the facts about our company and the treatment of our employees,” the spokesperson said. “We have great respect for every individual who works for our company, regardless of role, and in that regard, we have always provided appropriate wages, housing and other benefits.”
Central Romana is one of the two largest private producers of sugar in the Dominican Republic.
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