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Neal, Blumenauer Welcome Withhold Release Orders on Dominican Sugar Products

WASHINGTON, DC—Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) released the following statement after the Biden Administration announced that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be cracking down on sugar products made by forced labor in the Dominican Republic:

“As families around the country prepare their Thanksgiving sweets, they’d be horrified to know the atrocities that workers endure in cultivating one of their key ingredients. Central Romana Corp. and the Dominican sugar industry have operated with impunity for far too long, while credible allegations of forced labor have existed for more than ten years. Still today, Dominican sugar workers are subject to forced labor, inhumane working and living conditions, and increasing reports of harassment and intimidation, as well as retaliation for exercising their rights and speaking out.

“The Ways and Means Committee has repeatedly sounded the alarm over these reports, and we welcome today’s action by the Biden Administration. Workers around the world deserve basic rights and protections, and a workplace free of forced labor.”

Earlier this year, Trade Subcommittee Chairman Blumenauer urged the Biden Administration to address reports of forced labor in the sugar sector and later led a congressional delegation to the Dominican Republic to examine the allegations.

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