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20 Okt 2023

European Parliament, EU Reporter,
// Valentin Ledroit, Toute l'Europe

Towards an EU ban on products made with forced labour

This week, the Internal Market and International Trade committees adopted their position on keeping products made using forced labour out of the EU market, IMCO, INTA.

The draft regulation would put in place a framework to investigate the use of forced labour in companies’ supply chains. If it is proven that a company has used forced labour, all import and export of the related goods would be halted at the EU’s borders and companies would also have to withdraw goods that have already reached the EU market. These would then be donated, recycled or destroyed.

Reversal of burden of proof in high-risk cases

MEPs amended the Commission proposal to task the Commission with creating a list of geographical areas and economic sectors at high risk of using forced labour. For goods produced in these high-risk areas, the authorities would no longer need to prove that people have been forced to work, as the burden of proof would fall on companies.

Remediation and wider definitions

The committees also want goods that have been removed from the market to be allowed back on only after the company demonstrates it has stopped using forced labour in its operations or supply chain and remedied any relevant cases....

MEPs have also updated and widened the definitions used in the text. Particularly, the definition of forced labour would be aligned to ILO standards...

Next steps

The two committees adopted the draft report with 66 votes for, 0 against and 10 abstentions. Plenary will now have to confirm it as the EP’s negotiating mandate and then, once Council also adopts its position, talks can start over the final shape of the regulation.