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5 Mar 2024

Council of the European Union,
Parlement européen,

EU: Council and Parliament reach political agreement on ban for products made with forced labour

"Council and Parliament strike a deal to ban products made with forced labour", 5 March 2024

The Council and the European Parliament have reached a provisional deal on the regulation prohibiting in the EU market products made with forced labour. The provisional agreement reached today between the two co-legislators supports the main objective of the proposal to prohibit the placing and making available on the EU market, or the export from the EU market, of any product made using forced labour. The deal introduces significant modifications to the original proposal clarifying responsibilities of the Commission and national competent authorities in the investigation and decision-making process. [...]

Co-legislators have agreed that, to facilitate the implementation of this regulation, the Commission will establish a database containing verifiable and regularly updated information about forced labour risks, including reports from international organisations (such as the International Labour Organization). The database should support the work of the Commission and national competent authorities in assessing possible violations of this regulation. [...]

The provisional agreement sets clear criteria to be applied by the Commission and national competent authorities when assessing the likelihood of violations of this regulation. [...]

The Commission will issue guidelines for economic operators and competent authorities to help them to comply with the requirements of this regulation, including best practices for bringing to an end and remediating different types of forced labour. These guidelines will also include accompanying measures for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises [...]

The agreement reached by the two co-legislators lays down the criteria to determine which authority should lead the investigations. The Commission will be leading investigations outside the EU territory. Where the risks are in the territory of a member state, the competent authority of that member state will lead the investigations. [...]

The final decision (i.e., to ban, withdraw and dispose of a product made with forced labour) will be taken by the authority that led the investigation. The decision taken by a national authority will apply in all other member states based on the principle of mutual recognition.