Top Glove unable to ascertain financial, operational impact from CBP’s latest order

KUALA LUMPUR (March 30): Top Glove Corp Bhd said today the rubber glove manufacturer is unable to, at this juncture, ascertain the quantum of the financial and operational impact arising from the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) directive to its personnel at all US ports of entry to begin seizing disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove over forced labour allegations.

In a Bursa Malaysia filing today, Top Glove said the company wishes to announce that its US counsels are in midst of liaising with representatives of the CBP to obtain more clarity and information on the latest order issued.

"The company wishes to inform all its stakeholders it will take all necessary steps to address the issue and shall make the necessary announcements as appropriate when there are further developments in the above matter.

"The company earlier submitted the report prepared by the appointed independent international consultant to the CBP for review.

"In a published statement on March 9, 2021, the said independent international consultant is of the view that further progress had been made with regard to the forced labour indicators and considering Top Glove’s ongoing actions, the findings do not amount to systemic forced labour,” Top Glove claimed.

Yesterday, the CBP said in a statement on its website that it had directed its personnel at all US ports of entry to begin seizing disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove after the CBP Office of Trade, in consultation with the secretary of the Treasury, published forced labour allegation findings against Top Glove.

The CBP claimed that the findings communicate that it has sufficient information to believe Top Glove uses forced labour in the production of disposable gloves. 

"Merchandise covered by the forced labour finding is subject to seizure upon arrival at a US port of entry.

“The finding expands upon a withhold release order (WRO) that the CBP issued in July 2020. That WRO was based on reasonable but not conclusive information that multiple forced labour indicators exist in Top Glove’s production process, including debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents.

"The CBP received allegations of forced labour from a variety of sources, including from the general public,” the CBP said.

At Bursa’s 12.30pm break today, Top Glove’s share price settled down 22 sen or 4.36% at RM4.83, with a market capitalisation of about RM39.65 billion based on the company’s 8.21 billion issued shares.

The stock saw some 40 million shares traded after it was transacted between RM4.80 and RM4.98 today.