Photo of Alan Bersin

Alan Bersin

Alan Bersin served between 2012 and 2017 as Assistant Secretary in the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Alan was responsible for overseeing the Department’s policy formulation function in the areas of border security and trade, cyber, critical infrastructure and resilience, threat prevention and security policy and strategy, and plans and risk assessments.

As Chief Diplomatic Officer for DHS, Alan led the Department’s international engagement and served as the principal advisor to the Secretary on all international affairs and functions; oversaw the strategic development and execution of the Department’s international policies and plans; facilitated DHS multilateral, regional, and bilateral relations with foreign governments, law enforcement agencies, and international organizations to ensure an integrated transnational affairs program for the Department; served as the lead Departmental representative in interagency policy deliberations affecting foreign relations; and served as the Departmental interlocutor with the Department of State and the foreign affairs community, including foreign governments and international organizations.

Alan served in 2010-2011 as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a position in which he oversaw the operations of CBP’s 58,000 employee workforce and guided its efforts to secure the nation’s borders while expediting lawful trade and travel.

Between 2012 and 2015, Alan served as Vice President of INTERPOL for the Americas Region and as a lead Member of the INTERPOL Executive Committee. He was Chair of the Advisory Committee for the International Policing Division Steering Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

In 2009, Alan was Assistant Secretary and Special Representative for Border Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, he served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California and for nearly five years as the Attorney General’s Southwest Border Representative responsible for coordinating federal border law enforcement from South Texas to Southern California.

There have been several recent developments in international efforts to combat trade in goods made with forced labor, with important implications for responsible sourcing and global trade compliance programs.

On September 14, 2022, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a proposal to ban products made with forced labor from the EU market. The proposal notably goes beyond banning the importation of such products and would also create a ban on the export of products produced with forced labor and require their withdrawal from the EU market.

Meanwhile, enforcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) of the U.S. forced labor import prohibition has continued to intensify, including under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”). In early August 2022, CBP clarified the process for updating the UFLPA Entity List. In addition, CBP recently announced that it intends to integrate forced labor compliance requirements into the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (“CTPAT”) “trusted trader” program.

We discuss these developments and their implications below.

EU Forced Labor Product Ban

The European Commission has proposed a Regulation prohibiting products made with forced labor from being imported to, exported from, or sold in the EU, following an announcement by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her State of the Union address in September 2021.

The Commission’s proposal is the first step in the EU’s formal legislative process. The Regulation will now have to be agreed by the European Parliament and Council to become law, following which there will be an agreed delay—the Commission has proposed two years—before it applies in EU Member States. As it usually takes at least 12 months, and often closer to 18 months, for the European Parliament and Council to agree on a legislative text after a proposal by the Commission is published, it is unlikely that the Regulation will be adopted before the end of 2023, and it is therefore unlikely to become applicable earlier than late 2025.Continue Reading Breaking Developments in Forced Labor Trade Enforcement—the EU’s Proposed Forced Labor Product Ban and Recent Developments in U.S. Customs Enforcement