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EU Parliament and Council unite to ban products made by forced labour

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Uyghur protest Credits: Pexels

In a landmark move, the European Union Council and the European Parliament have forged a provisional agreement aimed at prohibiting the importation of goods manufactured using forced labour into the expansive European single market.

The agreement delineates clear roles for both the EU Commission and member states in the identification of companies exploiting forced labour and the subsequent prohibition of their products, reported Reuters.

In December last year a report funded by the Socialist Group in the European Parliament and conducted by Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, exposed an alarming reality of goods in the EU with forced labour origins. The report discloses that substantial volumes of apparel manufactured through forced labour within the Uyghur community are entering the European Union unchecked. The report also implicated at least forty prominent Western clothing brands, placing them at a heightened risk of association with such sourcing practices.

Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Belgium’s Economy and Labour Minister, hailed the accord as a pivotal step in dismantling the business models of such entities, Reuters said. "With this regulation, we aim to ensure that there is no room for their products within our single market, regardless of whether they originate from Europe or abroad," he emphasized, speaking in his capacity as the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency.

Under the terms of the agreement, restrictions would extend to merchandise produced outside the EU through the use of forced labour, as well as to items manufactured within the EU that incorporate components crafted abroad under conditions of forced labour. While the provisional agreement marks a significant milestone, formal approval from both the European Parliament and the Council is required for its enforcement, Reuters said.

Forced Labor