KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) today expressed concern over a ban on its exports to the United States (US), much like FGV Holdings’, following allegations that it uses forced labour by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
In a statement, SDP said despite the exports amounting to only US$5 million (RM20.8 million), it viewed the US as an important growing market.
“Possible action by the CBP is a concern to SDP as we view the US as an important growing market for our products, even though the annual value of our export to the US at present is a modest sum of approximately US$5 million.
“SDP had earlier responded to Liberty Shared (LS) petition summary and subsequent public statements in the best possible manner based on the limited information available,” the statement read.
Hong Kong-based anti-trafficking NGO LS had petitioned against SDP due to alleged child and forced labour.
In the petition filed with the US CBP agency in April, the group urged a ban on imports of the firm’s palm oil products.
SDP, in response to this, said it had repeatedly tried to contact the CBP for information so it could proceed with its own investigations but to date have received no correspondence from the agencies in US.
“It is a matter of public record that SDP is the subject of a petition filed by Liberty Shared (LS) with the CBP on 20th April 2020 as widely reported in the media.
“Despite our attempts to engage with the CBP, we have not had the opportunity to provide any explanation and neither has SDP been provided details of the allegation by LS.
“We will continue our engagements with the sincere hope of being able to obtain the details of the allegations for us to address them at the earliest opportunity,” the statement continued.