Source FMT Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysia’s palm oil and glove manufacturing industries are on Canada’s radar following allegations of forced labour.

Products from the two industries could end up being banned from that country.

This development follows US action against glove manufacturer Top Glove and palm oil giants Sime Darby Plantation Bhd and FGV Holdings Bhd.

The three Malaysian companies were placed on the US Customs and Border Protection’s withhold release order (WRO) list last year. Their products are effectively detained at US ports of entry.

Samuelle Carbonneau, a spokesman for Canada’s employment and social development department’s (ESDC) labour programme, confirmed that Malaysian companies were under the microscope.

“The ESDC-labour programme conducts risk analyses to establish the likelihood that a specific shipment contains goods produced through forced labour,” Carbonneau told FMT.

“Documented evidence of goods produced by forced labour is shared with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for its consideration.

“The CBSA may use this information to identify and intercept shipments containing goods that are suspected to have been produced by forced labour.”

Carbonneau said the ESDC did not release detailed information about its ongoing investigations, adding that it could take six months or longer to conduct a thorough analysis of an allegation due to the complex nature of global multi-tiered supply chains and the strict due diligence checks which have to be applied at every step.

Canada imported RM1.31 billion worth of gloves from Malaysia last year, according to publicly available Canadian government trade data. This was a 133% increase from 2019’s total.

It imported RM282 million worth of palm oil from Malaysia last year, a 24% increase from 2019’s total.