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Malaysian electronics firm ATA says does not use forced labour

By Reuters

<p><body> <p>By Liz Lee</p> <p><span class="caps">KUALA</span> <span class="caps">LUMPUR</span> (Reuters) – Malaysian electronics firm <span class="caps">ATA</span> <span class="caps">IMS</span> Bhd said on Friday it did not use forced labour at its factories after a prominent rights activist said U.S. authorities were going to scrutinise the company’s work practices.</p> <p><span class="caps">ATA</span> rejected allegations of unethical recruitment and labour violations after Nepal-based labour rights activist Andy Hall said U.S. authorities had agreed to look into a unit of the company after he said he had received complaints from some of its workers. </p> <p>“For foreign workers we do practice zero fees recruitment and comply with government immigration conditions which are totally ethical recruitment practices and not forced labour,” <span class="caps">ATA</span> said in an emailed statement to Reuters.</p> <p>In a separate statement to the stock exchange, <span class="caps">ATA</span> said it has not received any communication from the <span class="caps">CBP</span> or any other similar government authority,</p> <p><span class="caps">ATA</span>’s shares fell 18% on Thursday amid speculation of U.S. scrutiny, but recouped some of the losses with a rise of 7.7% on Friday.</p> <p>The company said third-party inspections had not corroborated Hall’s allegations.</p> <p>Hall said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (<span class="caps">CBP</span>) had sent him a letter telling him it had agreed to investigate the <span class="caps">ATA</span> unit after he said he had received the complaints.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">CBP</span> could not be reached for comment outside U.S. working hours. </p> <p>Hall provided Reuters with a copy of the letter he said he had received from the <span class="caps">CBP</span>, which was dated April 19.</p> <p>“<span class="caps">CBP</span> reviewed the petition and determined the information is sufficient to investigate the merits of this allegation,” the letter said. </p> <p><span class="caps">CBP</span> has banned four Malaysian companies in the last two years on forced labour concerns, giving the nation the highest number of U.S. import bans after China.</p> <p>Three of the bans remain in place.</p> <p/> <p> (Reporting by Liz Lee; Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Alexander Smith and Carmel Crimmins)</p> </body></p>