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Berkshire’s Shaw Unit Halts Canada Shipments Over Prison Labor

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- A Berkshire Hathaway Inc. building-materials unit said it voluntarily stopped shipping some flooring products to Canada after discovering the nation doesn’t allow importation of goods made with prison labor.

Shaw Industries Group Inc., based in Dalton, Georgia, learned in December that the hardwood-floor products can’t legally be imported to Canada, according to an e-mailed statement from Scott Sandlin, a company vice president. Shaw contacted Canadian authorities and halted the shipments to the country, he said.

“Shaw is cooperating with Canadian customs and is not anticipating any penalties or fines related to this issue,” Sandlin said in the statement.

The hardwood flooring is made with the help of prison labor, part of a U.S. government-approved program that allows inmates to be paid for their work, Sandlin said. Berkshire, the holding company run by billionaire Warren Buffett, acquired Shaw in 2000.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Shaw’s Canadian imports.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Reichl in San Francisco at dreichl@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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