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Opinion
Lisa Beyer

We Shouldn't Be Wearing Slave Labor on Our Sleeves

It makes sense that U.S. federal law forbids the importation of goods produced using forced labor. It makes less sense that a loophole virtually nullifies the rule.

It makes sense that U.S. federal law forbids the importation of goods produced using forced labor. It makes less sense that a loophole virtually nullifies the rule: A product can't be blocked under the law unless the U.S. makes enough of it to meet domestic needs. In other words, as long as there's a market for the tainted item, it's free to enter.

The provision, within the Tariff Act of 1930, was intended to ensure the U.S. was supplied with exotic goods such as rubber, tea and coffee at a time when those goods were often produced on forced-labor plantations abroad.