EU wants to ban products made with forced labour on the EU market

The European Commission proposes regulation that would effectively combat forced labour. According to the Commission, it is unacceptable that goods produced by people who have been threatened or forced to work are sold in European shops. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will organise a stakeholder event on EU proposal on forced labour on September 29.

This is the first proposed EU-level regulation to ban products made with forced labour and child labour in the EU market. The regulation would apply to all companies, products manufactured in the EU and imported products.

Authorities could request companies to report on efforts to prevent forced labour

Under the proposal, separately assigned national authorities in the Member States would take a risk-based enforcement approach to ensure companies comply with the regulation. In its enforcement, the responsible authority would use information from databases or notices or request information from other authorities.

On the basis of this information, the authority could request a company to provide information on its efforts to prevent and stop forced labour for the product in question. If the authority deems that this information is insufficient and that the product involves a risk of forced labour, the authority will start a more detailed investigation to assess the risks involved.

Following the investigation, the authority could conclude that the company has violated the regulation. Subsequently, the authority would impose a prohibition on placing products on the market, and the company would be required to withdraw and destroy them. The burden of proof that a company has violated the regulation would lie with the authorities, and decisions would include the right of appeal.

Ministries to organise stakeholder event on EU proposal on forced labour

A working group of the Council of the European Union, which will discuss the proposal, has not yet been confirmed. For this reason, it is not yet clear which ministry in Finland will be responsible for processing the proposal. In the meantime, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will carry out the preparations in close cooperation.

The Government and Parliament will jointly decide on the position on the Commission’s proposal. The Government will consult stakeholders in different ways.

The ministries will organise a virtual consultation of stakeholders on Thursday 29 September at 10.00–12.00 as a Teams meeting. If you would like to participate, please sign up by 26 September via the Webropol link(layout.types.url.description).

Inquiries

  • Laura Pätsi, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047276
  • Nadine Hellberg-Lindqvist, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047023
  • Linda Piirto, Senior Commercial Adviser, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 350420

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