US blocks sugar imports from top Dominican producer over forced labor concerns – source
The source of information is the Dominican press agency of El Deber online newspaper.
On June 5, the US government blocked sugar imports from the top Dominican producer, the Dominican Sugar Corporation. The US Customs Department is imposing a temporary ban on the delivery of sugar worth more than $2 million since last December. The reason is the threat of forced labor.
Forced labor refers to the use of child labor, forced marriages, pornography and forced labor in the manufacture of goods.
Celestino Lino, Chairman of Bauquiviale Dominican, the largest producer of sugar in the Dominican, says that the US action is unfair.
“This is a situation that, unfortunately, happens in other countries. In fact, the US has stopped a number of products from top Dominican companies. We are a small company at the bottom of the pyramid, but we are not without our problems,” says Lino.
Lino says that since last year, US Customs has blocked sugar imports totaling more than $3 million that had been delivered to US importers.
“As a matter of fact, the Dominican Sugar Corporation, which has about 40% of the market size, has a problem because of the shortage of sugar. It imports sugar from Dominican producers in an effort to stabilize the market, but we have had to import a lot of sugar so that the market reaches a healthy equilibrium. But so far, we have not received any response from Washington with respect to this issue,” Lino says.
According to him, if this situation persists, the sugar market could collapse and the producers of the products that the US Customs Department has stopped from being exported or sold in the US would go out of business.
On top of this, Celeste Lino says that the Dominican Sugar Corporation is also experiencing problems related to workers’ social security.
“For several years now we have been paying a portion of the workers’ social security contributions to a fund that is administered by the Dominican government. The government has