US blocks sugar imports from top Dominican producer over forced labor concerns
An import of sugar from a single Brazilian sugar producer, which had been blocked in the Dominican Republic, was approved on August 26, but the company will still have to file additional paperwork.
The import has allowed the Dominican sugar industry to grow.
The import, which was rejected in June, was a response to a lawsuit filed by the Dominican Sugar Producers Association, which accused the company of using forced labor in its sugar production facilities and was seeking compensation for its citizens.
The company, which produces for the major international sugar companies, is responsible for making approximately 90% of Dominican sugar. Its annual production reaches approximately 100,000 tonnes.
The association said its lawsuit had the support of several government ministers, who had supported an earlier petition in this matter.
The government of the Dominican Republic had previously granted an import of some sugar, which was approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Since then, the company has been working through the approval process.
The import was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on August 22.
This article was originally published by The Diplomat.