The European Commission publishes a proposal to ban forced labor

The European Commission publishes a proposal to ban forced labor

The European Commission on Wednesday published its proposal to ban products made by forced labor from the EU market.

“Forced labor…is a cruel form of modern slavery, with millions of people trapped around the world,” said EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis. “The objective is therefore clear: to keep the EU market free of products produced, extracted or harvested by forced labour.”

Since Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a ban last year, Brussels has worked to implement the ban without breaching international trade law, while maintaining cordial relations with Beijing. .

The ban is widely seen as targeting China, which operates mass internment and forced labor camps in the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang, as detailed in a recently released United Nations report. The country is suspected of using forced labor to produce everything from textiles to electronics.

Dombrovskis defended the ban’s comprehensive approach, which also bans EU products made with forced labour. “It’s important for the effectiveness of the ban, but also to avoid discriminating against our partner countries,” he said.

European industry chief Thierry Breton, whose department co-drafted the proposal with the EU’s trade section, said: “Our single market is a tremendous asset in preventing products made with forced labor from circulating. in the EU”.

Now the Council of the EU will have to shape its position on the subject – while the European Parliament already has its own views ready. Then, the two institutions and the Commission will have to work out the final architecture of the prohibition of forced labour.

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