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Mexico probing allegations of forced labor at tomato export firms

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omatoes are displayed at a vegetable stall in La Merced market, downtown Mexico Metropolis January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

MEXICO CITY, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Mexico’s authorities mentioned on Friday that it has established a working group to analyze allegations of pressured labor at two tomato export companies, after the U.S. Customs and Border Safety (CBP) mentioned it might bar imports from these companies.

The CBP mentioned in a press release on Thursday that efficient Oct. 21 its officers in any respect U.S. ports of entry would detain contemporary tomatoes produced by the tomato farm Agropecuarios Tom S.A. de C.V., and Horticola S.A de C.V., and their subsidiaries.

CBP issued a withhold launch order in opposition to Agropecuarios, Horticola and their subsidiaries primarily based on data that fairly signifies the usage of pressured labor in opposition to its staff.

Mexico’s labor ministry mentioned it has requested the financial system ministry to open a communication channel with the businesses, in coordination with the Nationwide Agricultural Council, and to hold out the corresponding investigations.

“If any breach of labor rules is recognized, a plan is established to ensure the safety of staff’ rights,” the labor ministry mentioned.

Following the CBP’s order, “the tomato firms have the precise to enchantment the choice to the U.S. customs authority and current proof that demonstrates their compliance with labor rules, to ensure that the sanction to be lifted,” the ministry added.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has mentioned addressing pressured labor allegations are a precedence in its commerce relations with Mexico.

Homeland Safety Division Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas mentioned on Wednesday the administration wished to make “clear that merchandise made in complete or partly by pressured labor is not going to be allowed into the USA… We’ll take away it from American provide chains.”

The Worldwide Labor Group estimates that 25 million staff endure underneath circumstances of pressured labor worldwide, in accordance with the Biden administration.

Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Adriana Barrera; Enhancing by Sandra Maler

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