FGV in talks with CBP to seek clarification on WRO


THE Board of Directors of FGV Holdings Bhd has communicated with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to seek clarification on the findings of its investigation and on steps expected to be taken by FGV for the revocation of the withhold release order (WRO).

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, it said the information around the CBP’s investigation findings is imperative to enable FGV to address and resolve any remaining gaps in its practices.

“A conference call between FGV and the CBP was held on Oct 8, 2020. However, the CBP could not reveal any information about its findings except that its research had identified the 11 International Labour Organisation indicators of forced labour in FGV’s practices.

“The CBP did not disclose any further information about its findings, including the nature or locations of any incidence linked to such indicators,” it said.

The palm oil producer said the CBP had informed FGV that it would consider a petition for the revocation of the WRO together with information or reports arising from audits from credible, unbiased, third party auditing firms.

“In relation to this, FGV is already in communication with several independent organisations to explore options for an imminent audit of FGV’s operations.

“FGV expects to finalise the appointment of such audit firm in the next couple of weeks and to proceed with the audit shortly after,” it said.

On Sept 30, the CBP detained all palm oil and palm oil products made by FGV, its subsidiaries or joint ventures based on information that reasonably indicates alleged use of forced labour.

It added that FGV is committed to taking all necessary steps and measures towards the revocation of the WRO and expresses its thanks and appreciation to the CBP for its readiness to discuss the matter with FGV, and FGV looks forward to continue engaging with the CBP.

At the same time, FGV said it remains committed to implementing its action plan under its affiliation with the Washington-based Fair Labor Association.