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In early January, the weather in southern California was actually quite
pleasant when the ship docked and slowly off-loaded its cargo. The
containers were lifted by huge cranes – just as the importer of record was
receiving a wakeup call – one they won’t forget, and one that has rocked
the fashion industry.
Background indicates that the importer was Fast Retailing Co. Ltd.’s
UNIQLO, a company that operates as a well-respected retail brand with a
strict compliance code (posted on their website).
On January 5, 2021 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Port
of Los Angeles/Long Beach stopped an inbound UNIQLO shipment of
men’s cotton shirts with a “Withhold Release Order” (WRO). Most people
probably don’t know what a WRO is, and fewer might even care. However,
if you are an importer, a WRO will reverberate throughout your entire
supply chain, as investigations and decisions can be both time consuming
and costly.