The US’ palm oil import ban on the Malaysian palm oil producer stemmed from allegations of forced labor and other abuses.
The US Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade (CBP) issued the palm oil import ban order against the Malaysian company on Wednesday, saying it found indicators of forced labor, including concerns about children, along with other abuses such as physical and sexual violence.
The palm oil import ban was announced a week after The Associated Press exposed major labor abuses in Malaysia’s palm oil industry, and was triggered by a petition filed last year by nonprofit organizations.
FGV said all the issues raised “have been the subject of public discourse since 2015 and FGV has taken several steps to correct the situation”.
“FGV is disappointed that such decision has been made when FGV has been taking concrete steps over the past several years in demonstrating its commitment to respect human rights and to uphold labor standards,” it said in a statement.
Malaysia is the world’s second-largest producer of palm oil. Together with Indonesia, the two countries dominate the global market, producing 85 percent of the $65 billion supply.
Palm oil and its derivatives from FGV, and closely connected Malaysian-owned Felda, make their way into the supply chains of major multinationals.
They include Nestle, L’Oreal, and Unilever, according to the companies’ most recently published supplier and palm oil mill lists.