The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new strategy set to help close a loophole that allows certain textile-related shipments from China to enter the United States without scrutiny under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).

The agency’s enforcement plan, announced Friday, will crack down on small-package apparel shipments by improving screening of packages claiming a de minimis exemption. Such exemptions are granted to shipments valued at $800 or less and can help those imports avoid being flagged for UFLPA violations.

Enhanced reviews will include physical inspections; country-of-origin, isotopic, and composition testing; and in-depth reviews of documentation, while DHS personnel will conduct audits and visits to high-risk foreign facilities.

Among the driving factors behind the DHS’s planned change is its desire to better be able to inspect apparel shipments coming from China for forced labor. The agency said the plan will “serve as the blueprint for future strengthened enforcement efforts through intensified targeting of small package shipments, joint trade special operations, increased customs audits and foreign verifications, and the expansion of the [UFLPA] Entity List.”

So far in fiscal year 2024, electronics and apparel have been the most frequent types of shipments halted by Customs and Border Protection for suspicion of UFLPA violations.

“The textile industry, like others industries, suffers when competitors use forced labor, violate customs laws, and engage in other illegal practices to undercut U.S. businesses and drive prices unfairly low,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, DHS secretary, in a press release announcing the enforcement plan. “Through strengthened enforcement measures, enhanced inspection and testing, and increased information sharing, this administration is protecting thousands of American workers and the U.S. textile industry.”