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UPDATE 1-U.S. bans Malaysian glove maker YTY imports over suspected forced labour

(Adds YTY Group statement)

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. customs agency has banned imports from Malaysian disposable glove maker YTY Industry Holdings Sdn Bhd (YTY Group) over suspected forced labour practices, the seventh such ban on a Malaysian company in two years.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said on Friday it took the action “based on information that reasonably indicates the use of forced labour in YTY Group’s manufacturing operations.”

Malaysian factories, including some of the world’s major suppliers of palm oil and medical gloves, have come under increased scrutiny over suspected abuse of foreign workers, a significant part of the country’s manufacturing workforce.

YTY Group said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the ban, as it had made demonstrable progress since 2019 in improving its social compliance policies, particularly in its treatment of migrant workers.

The group said it had submitted an update to the CBP this month, informing that it had met compliance targets on all 11 International Labour Organization (ILO) indicators of forced labour.

“Despite the position the CBP has taken, we will redouble our efforts to engage with them ... to not only demonstrate that our manufacturing operations are devoid of any and all forced labour practices, but to reaffirm ongoing social compliance advancements,” YTY Chief Executive Vikram Hora said in a statement late Saturday.

CBP said it had identified seven of the ILO indicators during its investigation into YTY Group, including debt bondage, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime.

The agency also determined on Friday that Malaysian palm oil producer Sime Darby here Plantation Bhd uses forced labour in their operations and that the company's goods were subject to seizure.

Effective Friday, the agency will detain goods made in Malaysia by YTY Group and its units YTY Industry Sdn Bhd, Green Prospect Sdn Bhd and GP Lumut at all U.S. ports of entry.

Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by William Mallard and Richard Chang

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