Top Glove appoints consultant to remove US import restrictions

The US Customs and Border Protection enforced a detention order on July 15 on disposable gloves manufactured by Top Glove’s subsidiaries due to suspected foreign labour issues. (Bloomberg pic)

PETALING JAYA: Top Glove Corp Bhd says it is confident of reaching an agreement on recruitment fee remediation for its foreign workers next month.

This would remove the import order restriction on its products by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), it said.

On July 15, the CBP enforced a detention order on disposable gloves manufactured by Top Glove’s subsidiaries, Top Glove Sdn Bhd and TG Medical Sdn Bhd, due to suspected foreign labour issues.

“We have made good progress and are looking forward to arriving at an agreement on remediation by August, upon which we plan to commence remediation payment immediately,” Top Glove said in a statement.

The world’s largest medical glovemaker added that it had appointed an independent consultant to advise the company on the matter.

It has been reported that many foreign workers have no choice but to take out high-interest loans or sell properties or other possessions to pay for recruitment fees to secure jobs in Malaysia.

The high monthly repayments to these agencies often push the workers into debt bondage – one of the 11 indicators of forced labour, according to the International Labour Organization.

Earlier this month, glove maker WRP Asia Pacific started a recruitment fee remediation programme for about 1,600 of its foreign workers, in what is believed to be an industry first in Malaysia.

CBP previously said Top Glove had submitted information to prove it did not use forced labour.

While CBP told Reuters that it could not specify a timeline for resolving Top Glove’s concerns, it stressed that it would not modify or revoke the detention order until it received proof that establishes the admissibility of the affected products.