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U.S. Customs would consider petition, audit to lift import ban on Malaysia's FGV

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Customs has told Malaysia’s FGV Holdings Bhd it would consider a petition to revoke an import ban on the company’s palm oil products if it can provide credible evidence that it does not use forced labour, FGV said on Thursday.

The world’s largest crude palm oil producer said in a bourse filing the petition would need to include reports from unbiased, third party auditing firms, and it was talking to several independent organisations about an audit of its operations.

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

Last month, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) placed a ban on FGV’s products on suspicion of forced labour in its manufacturing process, and Malaysia said it anticipated another plantation firm to be banned as well.

FGV said it had a conference call with the CBP a week ago to seek clarification on the authority’s investigation findings and steps expected to be taken to lift the withhold release order on its products.

“However, the CBP could not reveal any information about its findings except that its research had identified the 11 International Labour Organization (ILO) indicators of forced labour in FGV’s practices,” it said, adding that the CBP did not disclose further information about the nature or locations of incidents. (Reporting by Liz Lee; editing by Richard Pullin)

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