Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. (the “Company) has been increasing its engagement with all stakeholders in anticipation of the June 21, 2022, effective date of the “rebuttable presumption” standard under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) signed into law on December 23, 2021. Under the UFLPA, all imports that originate from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) or otherwise use Uyghur or other minorities for forced labor in China, are excluded from entry into the U.S. by the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
On June 17, DHS issued its much-anticipated Implementation Strategy (the “Strategy”) for the rebuttable presumption standard under the UFLPA. In this new report, DHS has, for the first time, identified DNA traceability and isotopic testing – both central components of Applied DNA’s CertainT® authenticity platform – as evidence that importers may present to potentially prove that items do not originate in XUAR or may have benefitted from forced labor.
The UFLPA seeks to insulate U.S. companies and consumers from complicity in forced labor practices in XUAR, which produces nearly 20% of global cotton1. Commercially available for almost a decade, Applied DNA’s CertainT® platform is a multi-layered textile traceability solution that offers proof of product origin, authenticity, and sustainability.
Catalyzed by the imminent implementation of the UFLPA, Applied DNA is acquiring DNA traceability and isotopic testing clients intent on establishing proof of origin to comply with the UFLPA in the near-term with the long-term objective of securing their global supply chains using CertainT. Louis Dreyfus Company B.V., the Company’s cotton merchant partner, recently received a request to ship the first quantities of traceable tagged cotton that is directly attributable to the UFLPA.
In GFY21, CPB used its forced labor authority to detain almost 1,500 shipments with a value of almost $500 million. The Biden Administration’s budget request for GFY23, which begins on October 1, 2022, calls for $70 million to implement the UFLPA, to hire 300 additional CBP inspectors, and screen 11.5 times as many shipments for forced labor violations as is being undertaken currently.
“CertainT is a 100% American solution that is unique in its ability to offer multiple traceability solutions, including DNA traceability and isotopic testing that are both cited (see page 49 in the link) in the Strategy. We believe that the high bar established by the UFLPA with its documentary and supply chain management requirements place a burden on importers that cannot be adequately met by fungible reporting frameworks, such as conventional paper- or electronic systems,” stated Dr. James A. Hayward, president, and CEO, Applied DNA.
“Coming on the heels of Customs and Border Protection’s budget request to fully implement the Strategy, we are pleased to see agreement at the regulatory level as a precursor to potentially broader industry adoption,” continued Dr. Hayward. “As a U.S.-based company, we applaud the imperative with which the Strategy is moving federal law towards action and, not only for its potential to be transformative to our supply chain security business, but also to deliver clear societal and ethical benefits to the American consumer. With the 2022 cotton ginning season soon upon us, we stand ready to deliver DNA-tagged American cotton to meet brand demand driven by the UFLPA.”
Andrew Samet, principal at trade consulting firm Sorini, Samet & Associates and textile lobbyist for Applied DNA, said, “It is clear from the new strategy document that Homeland Security officials and others in the U.S. government recognize that documentary traceability is insufficient. Technology solutions proving origin, such as DNA tagging and isotopic analysis, are for the first time being referenced and are the emerging framework both for authentication and enforcement – forced labor is a key driver for this secular change now officially underway.”