European Parliament, Council reach provisional agreement on forced labor

The European Parliament and European Council have reached a provisional agreement on forced labor, in order to ban products made with forced labor from the European Union, pending parliamentary approval. Member countries will have three years to enforce the new provisions.

The European Parliament and the European Council have reached a provisional provision on new regulations to ban products manufactured with forced labor from the European Union.

The deal was reached by unspecified “negotiators,” but it will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the European Council. The new rules will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union one day after approval. EU member countries will have three years to enforce the new provisions.

“According to the agreed text, national authorities or, if third countries are involved, the EU Commission, will investigate suspected use of forced labor in companies’ supply chains,” said the EU Parliament in a press release. “If the investigation concludes that forced labor has been used, the authorities can demand that relevant goods be withdrawn from the EU market and online marketplaces, and confiscated at the borders.”

At the request of parliament, the European Commission will draw up a list of specific economic sectors in specific geographical zones where forced labor reportedly exists. This will become a standard for evaluating the need to open investigations.

According to the agreed text, the bloc will investigate suspicions about the use of forced labor in companies. If an investigation concludes that forced labor has occurred, the authorities will demand that the merchandise be withdrawn from the European market and confiscated at the border. The confiscated products will have to be donated, recycled, or destroyed.

“A new Forced Labour Single Portal would be set up to help enforce the new rules,” the press release said. “It includes guidelines, information on bans, database of risk areas and sectors, as well as publicly available evidence and a whistleblower portal. A Union Network Against Forced Labour Products would help to improve cooperation between authorities.”

The Internal Market and International Trade Committees of the European Parliament approved the draft regulation in October.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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