On January 7, 2021 Chain Reaction Research reported that “the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency once again issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on palm oil produced by a Malaysian company. This time, the subject is the palm oil plantation owner and trader/refiner Sime Darby. The WRO, which became effective on December 30, 2020, bans palm oil from Sime Darby entering U.S. ports. It covers Sime Darby’s subsidiaries, joint ventures, and affiliates.
The WRO was initiated by an April 2020 petition from legal advocacy organization Liberty Shared to the CBP calling for a ban on palm oil products produced by Sime Darby. In its summary of the petition, the organization highlighted labor abuse issues in Sime Darby’s holdings, ranging from passport retention, unpaid overtime, issues with salary payments, sexual harassment, and unethical employment practices.
In response to the petition, the CBP conducted an investigation into the Sime Darby’s daily operational activities, as well as its subsidiaries, joint ventures, and affiliated companies. The investigation found ‘strong indications of workers abuse’ in the company’s day-to-day operations.”
You may read the article on the Chain Reaction Research internet site.