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Notice of Final Determination Revising the List of Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or Indentured Child Labor Pursuant to Executive Order 13126   [7/23/2013]
[PDF]
Federal Register, Volume 78 Issue 141 (Tuesday, July 23, 2013)
[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 141 (Tuesday, July 23, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44158-44160]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-17520]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Office of the Secretary of Labor


Notice of Final Determination Revising the List of Products 
Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or Indentured 
Child Labor Pursuant to Executive Order 13126

AGENCY: Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Labor.

ACTION: Notice of Final Determination.

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SUMMARY: This final determination is the fourth revision of the list 
required by Executive Order 13126 (``Prohibition of Acquisition of 
Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor''), in accordance 
with the ``Procedural Guidelines for the Maintenance of the List of 
Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or 
Indentured Child Labor Under 48 CFR Subpart 22.15 and E.O. 13126.'' 
This notice revises the list by adding six products, identified by 
their countries of origin, Cattle from South Sudan, Dried Fish from 
Bangladesh, Fish from Ghana, Garments from Vietnam, and Gold and 
Wolframite from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that the 
Departments of Labor, State and Homeland Security have a reasonable 
basis to believe might have been mined, produced or manufactured by 
forced or indentured child labor. Under a final rule of the Federal 
Acquisition Regulatory Councils, published January 18, 2001, which also 
implements Executive Order 13126, federal contractors who supply 
products which appear on this list are required to certify, among other 
things, that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether 
forced or indentured child labor was used to mine, produce or 
manufacture the item.

DATES: This document is effective immediately upon publication of this 
notice.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Revised List of Products

    On September 27, 2012, the Department of Labor (DOL), in 
consultation and cooperation with the Department of State (DOS) and the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), published a Notice of Initial 
Determination in the Federal Register proposing to revise the List of 
Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or 
Indentured Child Labor (``the EO List'') (77 FR 59418). The notice 
invited public comment through November 27, 2012. The initial 
determination can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/20120927EO13126FRN.pdf or can be obtained from: 
Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT), 
Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Room S-5317, U.S. Department of 
Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: 
(202) 693-4843; fax: (202) 693-4830.
    Of the five public comments that were received during the comment 
period, three comments--two of them from the same source--disagreed 
with the listing of Garments from Vietnam, but did not provide 
sufficient information to negate the basis for this proposed revision. 
The remaining comments did not discuss the revisions proposed in the 
initial determination.
    Accordingly, based on recent, credible, and appropriately 
corroborated information from various sources, DOL, DOS, and DHS have 
concluded that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the 
following products, identified by their countries of origin, might have 
been mined, produced, or manufactured by forced or indentured child 
labor:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Product                              Country
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cattle....................................  South Sudan.
Dried Fish................................  Bangladesh.
Fish......................................  Ghana.
Garments..................................  Vietnam.
Gold......................................  Democratic Republic of
                                             Congo.
Wolframite................................  Democratic Republic of
                                             Congo.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The bibliographies providing the basis for the three agencies' 
decisions on each product are available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/regs/eo13126/main.htm.

II. Background

    The first EO List was published on January 18, 2001 (66 FR 5353). 
The EO List was subsequently revised on July 20, 2010 (75 FR 42164); 
again on May 31, 2011 (76 FR 31365); and again on April 3, 2012 (77 FR 
20051). This final determination is the fourth revision to the EO List.
    EO 13126, which was published in the Federal Register on June 16, 
1999 64 FR 32383), declared that it was ``the policy of the United 
States Government . . . that the executive agencies shall take 
appropriate actions to enforce the laws prohibiting the manufacture or 
importation of goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced 
or manufactured wholly or in part by forced or indentured child 
labor.'' Pursuant to EO 13126, and following public notice and comment, 
DOL published in the January 18, 2001 Federal Register a list of 
products, identified by their country of origin, that DOL, in 
consultation and cooperation with DOS and the Department of the 
Treasury [relevant responsibilities now within DHS] had a reasonable 
basis to believe might have been mined, produced or manufactured by 
forced or indentured child labor (66 FR 5353).
    Pursuant to Section 3 of EO 13126, the Federal Acquisition 
Regulatory Council published a final rule in the Federal Register on 
January 18, 2001 providing, amongst other requirements, that federal 
contractors who supply products that appear on the EO List must certify 
to the contracting officer that the contractor, or, in the case of an 
incorporated contractor, a responsible official of the contractor, has 
made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or indentured 
child labor was used to mine, produce, or manufacture any product 
furnished under the contract and that, on the basis of those efforts, 
the contractor is unaware of any such use of child labor (48 CFR 
Subpart 22.15).
    DOL also published on January 18, 2001 ``Procedural Guidelines for 
the Maintenance of the List of Products

[[Page 44159]]

Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or Indentured 
Child Labor'' (``Procedural Guidelines''), which provide for 
maintaining, reviewing, and, as appropriate, revising the EO List. (66 
FR 5351). The Procedural Guidelines provide that the EO List may be 
revised either through consideration of submissions by individuals or 
on the initiative of DOL, DOS and DHS. In either event, when proposing 
to revise the EO List, DOL must publish in the Federal Register a 
notice of initial determination, which includes any proposed alteration 
to the EO List. DOL, DOS and DHS consider all public comments prior to 
the publication of a final determination of a revised EO List.

III. Summary and Discussion of Significant Comments

    The Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) in DOL received 
five comments during the public comment period. Of these, one was from 
a private citizen, two were from the Government of Vietnam's Ministry 
of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs, one was from the Vietnam 
Textile and Apparel Association, and one was from the Apparel Export 
Promotion Council of India. All comments are available for public 
viewing at www.regulations.gov (reference Docket ID No. DOL-2012-0005).
    All comments have been carefully reviewed and considered, as 
discussed below.

A. Comments on Forced Child Labor in the Production of Garments in 
Vietnam

    One commenter provided information on the laws in place on child 
labor and forced labor in Vietnam, the Government of Vietnam's 
enforcement of those laws, and other policies and programs in place in 
Vietnam to combat forced child labor, and argued that garments from 
Vietnam should not be added to the EO List. Enacting laws, meaningfully 
enforcing those laws, and establishing policies and programs are 
important components of any country's efforts to combat forced child 
labor. However, based on the evidence reviewed, there are more than 
isolated cases of forced child labor in garment production. These cases 
predominately occur in small, unregistered workplaces. In many 
countries, laws, policies and programs that are effective for 
registered factories are less effective at reaching children and other 
exploited workers in unregistered, more hidden work settings, and this 
appears to be the case in Vietnam's garment industry. Therefore, DOL, 
DOS and DHS continue to have a reasonable basis to believe that forced 
child labor is occurring based upon the sources in the bibliography.
    The same commenter questioned the use of sources from 2009, stating 
that they contain outdated information and should not serve as the 
basis for a listing. Under the Procedural Guidelines, ILAB must 
consider the ``date of the information'' in evaluating sources 
documenting forced or indentured child labor. ILAB has chosen to use 
only information no more than 5 years old. More current information has 
been generally given priority. ILAB's experience is that the use of 
child labor and forced labor in a country or in the production of a 
particular good typically persists for many years. Information about 
such exploitive activities is often actively concealed. Information 
that is several years old therefore can still provide useful context 
for more current information. In the case of garments from Vietnam, 
ILAB research in 2008 and 2009 revealed a trend of forced child labor 
in the sector. Further ILAB research in 2011 and 2012 revealed 
additional recent and ongoing cases of forced child labor in the 
garment industry, confirming earlier research.
    The same commenter expressed the view that the instances of forced 
child labor described in the bibliography for the EO List were 
individual cases that account for an insignificant portion of the 
garment industry workforce. In conducting research on forced child 
labor in the production of goods, DOL, DOS and DHS consider whether the 
available information suggests that the problem of forced child labor 
is significant in the industry and country in question. Among the 
criteria in the EO 13126 Procedural Guidelines are whether the 
information in the bibliography ``involved more than an isolated 
incident'' of forced or indentured child labor and the source of that 
information. (66 FR5351.) In placing garments from Vietnam on the EO 
List, 18 sources were used, including sources from the International 
Labor Organization (ILO), the DOS, and other organizations whose 
methodologies, prior publications, degree of familiarity and experience 
with international labor standards, and/or reputation for accuracy and 
objectivity were found to be relevant and probative. Referencing these 
18 sources, the three agencies concluded that the incidents in recent 
years and in a number of different establishments were evidence of a 
trend of children, some trafficked to large cities from distant 
provinces, working under conditions of forced labor. This phenomenon 
appears to be occurring in more than an isolated incident.
    Several commenters urged that incidents of forced child labor 
occurring in small, private manufacturing units should not be 
considered for purposes of the EO List. The EO List does not 
differentiate between forced child labor in smaller, unregistered work 
settings and forced child labor in larger, registered factories. EO 
13126 covers all forced labor by children in the production of goods, 
including work performed in more hidden work settings and home-based 
workshops.
    In January 2013, two DOL officials visited Vietnam to assess the 
current situation of forced child labor in Vietnam, with a focus on the 
garment sector, and gather additional information about the efforts and 
systems in place to combat this problem. The DOL officials held 
meetings and consultations with government officials, unions, and more 
than 15 international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working 
on child protection, trafficking in persons, and worker rights issues.
    Discussions with NGOs and Government of Vietnam officials confirmed 
that most, but not all, child labor in the garment sector occurs in 
small, unregistered workshops. NGOs corroborated the original sources 
used for the listing of garments, confirming that child labor, 
including child trafficking, still occurs in this industry. Individuals 
and groups with whom the DOL officials spoke confirmed that systematic 
monitoring of forced or indentured child labor in the garment sector is 
limited and largely confined to the larger, registered factories. There 
is no evidence of systematic monitoring of child labor in smaller, 
unregistered workshops. These discussions are documented in the 
bibliography.

B. Comments on Forced Child Labor in the Production of Garments in 
India

    One commenter requested that garments from India be removed from 
the EO List. A product is removed from the EO List if there is a 
significant reduction or elimination of forced or indentured child 
labor in the manufacture of the listed product in that country. This 
commenter provided information on laws, policies, and programs of the 
Government of India, as well as industry efforts and NGO initiatives to 
combat child labor. As many of these laws and policies were only 
recently enacted, there is not yet adequate available information to 
evaluate their effectiveness in reducing forced child labor. The three 
agencies will continue to monitor the implementation of these new 
initiatives

[[Page 44160]]

for possible future revisions of the EO List.
    The commenter also requested that Indian garments be removed from 
the EO List because a survey by the Government of India's National 
Sample Survey Organization found a significant reduction in child labor 
in India in recent years. While this survey appears to show an overall 
reduction in child labor in India, it does not address whether there 
has been a corresponding reduction in forced or indentured child labor, 
which is the subject of the EO List. Likewise, the survey does not 
address whether the generalized reduction has had an impact on child 
labor in the garment industry, or whether the reduction is primarily in 
other sectors.
    This commenter argued that any use of forced child labor in 
garments produced for the Indian market, rather than for export, should 
not be considered for purposes of the EO List. The commenter pointed to 
third-party certification programs as evidence that forced child labor 
does not exist in export-oriented garment factories, and claimed that 
the sources used to place garments on the EO List are ``not 
applicable'' to the export side of the industry. EO 13126 requires that 
goods are placed on the EO List if there is a reasonable basis to 
believe that forced child labor might have been used in the industry 
and country in question. Whether such labor is occurring in production 
of goods destined for export or domestic markets is not taken into 
consideration. Governments and other stakeholders have a responsibility 
to address forced child labor wherever it occurs.
    The commenter asserted that Indian garments were placed on the EO 
List because yarn produced in the garment supply chain may have been 
made with forced or indentured child labor. This comment appears to 
misunderstand the sources in the bibliography. Every source for Indian 
garments discusses the use of forced or indentured child labor in the 
production of garments, and inclusion of Indian garments on the EO List 
was not based on activity in the supply chain.
    The commenter argued that the instances of forced child labor 
identified in the sources are not representative of the garment 
industry in India as a whole. In conducting research on forced child 
labor in the production of goods, DOL, DOS and DHS consider whether the 
available information suggests that the forced or indentured child 
labor documented is more than an isolated incident. In the case of 
Indian garments, the sources document the practice of forced child 
labor occurring in various locations. Corroborated sources point to a 
proliferation of home-based work and small, un-registered production 
units that perform outsourced work such as printing and dyeing, where 
child labor is prevalent. Many of these children are migrants working 
to repay advances given to their parents, an indicator of forced labor. 
Many of these children work long hours under poor conditions, are 
subject to verbal and physical abuse, and their freedom of movement is 
severely restricted--another indicator of forced labor. These sources 
are corroborated by other credible sources, giving the three agencies a 
reasonable basis to believe that the use of forced child labor in the 
garment industry is more than isolated.
    The commenter expressed the view that some of the sources are 
unreliable. In placing garments from India on the EO List, DOL, DOS and 
DHS relied upon sources whose methodologies, prior publications, degree 
of familiarity and experience with international labor standards, and/
or reputation for accuracy and objectivity were found to be relevant 
and probative. Individual sources are corroborated by other evidence in 
the bibliography and should not be viewed in isolation. Taken as a 
whole, the bibliography which includes studies conducted by Verite, 
Inc., the Fair Labor Association, and the University of Manchester 
Chronic Poverty Research Centre, is sufficient to provide the three 
agencies a reasonable basis to believe that forced child labor might be 
used in the production of Indian garments.
    Finally, the commenter noted that it did not have access to two of 
the sources cited for Indian garments, namely interviews with certain 
key informants. DOL will provide copies of those interviews to the 
commenter following the publication of this final notice. All of DOL's 
sources are publicly available from DOL upon request and/or from the 
original author.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 15th day of July, 2013.
Carol Pier,
Acting Deputy Undersecretary, Bureau of International Labor Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2013-17520 Filed 7-22-13; 8:45 am]
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