On July 28, 2003, President Bush signed the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. That law states that “no article may be imported into the United States that is produced, mined, manufactured, grown, or assembled in Burma.” This means that no teak may be legally imported into the United States directly from Burma, and that the companies listed on these webpages, including Kingsley-Bate, East Teak Trading Company, and Country Casual will have stopped importing teak from Burma, in order to comply with the law.
However, the companies may continue to import teak that originated in Burma, through third countries. Transhipments represented the bulk of Burmese teak imports into the U.S. even before the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act was passed. Burmese teak remains on a list of items published by the U.S. Dept. of Labor “for which there is a reasonable basis to believe that such products may have been mined, produced, or manufactured by forced or indentured child labor.” Federal agencies must take steps to avoid the use of such items; however, private companies that are not federal contractors are not affected by the Order.
Companies that import teak originating in Burma, even if transhipped through third countries, should immediately end such imports in order to avoid supporting the brutal Burmese military regime and to avoid any association with forced labor and environmental destruction in Burma.