WASHINGTON — US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said on Nov. 23 it will detain imports of raw sugar and sugar-based products made in the Dominican Republic by Central Romana Corp., Ltd., after an investigation reasonably indicated the use of forced labor in the company’s operations.   

The CBP said it identified five of the International Labor Organization’s 11 indications of forced labor, including abuse of vulnerability, isolation, withholding of wages, abusive working and living conditions and excessive overtime.

Central Romana is one of the two largest sugar producers in the Dominican Republic and may be the largest exporter of raw sugar from that country to the United States, according to trade sources, who estimate as much as 100,000 tonnes of raw sugar shipments could be affected by the order. The Dominican Republic has a US raw sugar tariff-rate quota of 189,343 tonnes (about 208,713 short tons) in 2022-23, with 22,892 tonnes (about 25,234 short tons) shipped in October, according to US Customs data.