EU seeks to ban all products made with forced labour

Publicated on: September 16, 2022

The proposal of the European Commission covers the products of all industries, including those made in the EU for domestic consumption and imported goods as well.

The respect for human rights, including labour rights, is a key priority of the EU’s agenda. However, a report just released in September by the ILO and the Walk Free Foundation estimates the number of victims of forced labour at 27.6 million worldwide, which is a significant increase compared to 5 years ago. Due to the global supply chains, the goods produced with labour exploitation also reach the EU internal market in large quantities. 
The new proposal underlines the importance of close cooperation with global partners (international organizations, economic operators) and aims to empower national authorities to withdraw the affected products following an investigation. The enforcement of the Regulation will be facilitated by the customs authorities and a dedicated coordination network for Member States. 
 “This proposal will make a real difference in tackling modern-day slavery, which affects millions of people around the globe.” – told Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade. “We cannot maintain a model of consumption of goods produced unsustainably.” – added Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton at the press conference on this matter.  
EU leaders also highlighted the need to minimise the administrative burden for businesses, with a tailor-made approach for SMEs. The draft regulation will soon be presented to the European Parliament and the Council for adoption. 


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